Evidence-based expert: Educate nurses on choosing the best research literature

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, March 20, 2009

This week, Suzanne C. Beyea, RN, PhD, FAAN, and Mary Jo Slattery, RN, MS, provide ways to help staff nurses select literature for conducting research projects.

Q: As a staff educator, how can I help nurses choose appropriate literature for conducting a research project?

A: Nurses often wonder how to determine an appropriate research article and how to begin critiquing one. The first step is to select articles that are research-based and from a peer-reviewed journal. Other suggested guidelines for selecting appropriate literature include the following:

  • Studies from medical journals should be limited and used only if the topic relates to a nursing issue
  • Either quantitative (researchers use objective data or use a survey instrument to measure knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, or experiences) or qualitative (researchers use methods such as interviews or narrative analyses to help understand a particular phenomenon) research articles are appropriate for review
  • When possible, articles with comparable patient population should be selected
  • Be sure the article focuses on nursing interventions, not medical interventions

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