Discovering Nursing Research

Readings and Overview

Topic 1
About nursing research

Topic 2
Research and practice

Topic 3
Past to present

Topic 4
Quantitative and Qualitative





Research and nursing practice


Objective 3. Describe EBP and it's development and why it is important for nursing practice.

Why is research important for nursing practice?
As nurses we are accountable to our patients and their families for providing the highest quality, most cost-effective care possible. This requires that we constantly evaluate and improve our care based on new and credible knowledge. Research-based scientific knowledge can be used to improve nursing care, patient outcomes, and how we deliver care. In other words, research provides evidence on which to base our nursing care, or EBP.

How is evidence-based practice developed?
EBP is developed through a combination of research approaches. Through qualitative research we are able to better understand the patient's and family's experiences with health and illness. Quantitative research provides a mechanism for testing the effectiveness of nursing interventions. Finally, outcomes research focuses on the provision of quality, cost-effective care.

What types of research are used in developing EBP?
There are four types of research. Each type of research provides the basis for the next level of inquiry.

  • Description - Through descriptive research we try to identify and better understand nursing phenomena and the relationships among the phenomena. Descriptive research provides the groundwork for further studies that seek to explain, predict, or control nursing phenomena.
  • Explanation - Explanation clarifies the relationship among phenomena and identifies why certain events occur. An example of this is the research that has been done to examine the relationship between nosocomial infections, higher levels of morbidity and mortality, and higher hospital costs.
  • Prediction - This examines the probability of an outcome occurring in specific situations. This type of research is common in epidemiology in which specified risk factors predict the occurrence of disease. For example, obesity and inactivity predict higher rates of heart disease.
  • Control - Control is the ability to specify how to produce a desired outcome. Control is dependent on prediction. For example, the incidence of heart disease is reduced when levels of obesity and inactivity are controlled or when people are a normal weight and they exercise.


Objective 4: Identify your role in research as a professional nurse.

What are nurses' roles in the research process?
According to professional nursing organizations, such as the American Nurses Association, the level of research involvement increases with each successive level of advanced educational preparation. However, having BSN preparation does not preclude being able to participate in higher levels of research.

Match the research involvement with the educational preparation level of BSN, MSN, or PhD.

Lead health care teams in making changes in nursing practice   
Use research to guide practice
Conduct focused initial studies in collaboration with others
Coordinate research teams
Critique and synthesize research for practice
Conduct research to generate nursing knowledge
View Answers

Week #1 Activity 2

Please post the online assignments to Bb no later than midnight Monday, August 27. 

In approximately 3 to 5 paragraphs:

1. Discuss your thoughts about how practicing staff nurses do or do not gain access to research to improve practice?

2. Describe the extent to which nursing practice in your agency is influenced by research?

3. What are some of the barriers to EBP in your setting?

Back to top