Nursing Research

Empirical evidence

is information acquired by observation or experimentation


the degree to which the research methods justify the inference that the findings are true for a broader group than study participants; in particular, the inference that the findings can be generalized from a sample to the population

Basic research

is designed to extend the base of information for the sake of knowledge.

Applied research

focuses on discovering solutions to immediate problems.

What is a fundamental difference between the purposes of quant research

cause-probing research (i.e., designed to illuminate underlying causes of phenomena).
description research: include identification, description, exploration, prediction/control and explanation.

Foreground question

those that can be answered based on current best research evidence on diagnosing, assessing, or treating patients, or on understanding the meaning, cause, or prognosis of their health problems

Implementation potential

the extent to which an innovation is amenable to implementation in a new setting, an assessment of which is often made in an EBP project


a technique for quANtitatively integrating the results of multiple studies addressing the same or similar research questions


the grand narratives or interpretive translations produced from the integration or comparison of findings from qualitative studies

Five basic steps for EBP

(1) framing an answerable clinical question; (2) searching for relevant research-based evidence; (3) appraising and synthesizing the evidence; (4) integrating evidence with other factors; and (5) assessing effectiveness.

P in picot

Population refers to the sample of subjects you wish to recruit for your study. There may be a fine balance between defining a sample that is most likely to respond to your intervention (e.g. no co-morbidity) and one that can be generalized to patients that are likely to be seen in actual practice.

I in picot

Intervention refers to the treatment that will be provided to subjects enrolled in your study.

C in pico

Comparison identifies what you plan on using as a reference group to compare with your treatment intervention. Many study designs refer to this as the control group. If an existing treatment is considered the 'gold standard', then this should be the comparison group.

O in pico

Outcome represents what result you plan on measuring to examine the effectiveness of your intervention. Familiar and validated outcome measurement tools relevant to common chiropractic patient populations may include the Neck Disability Index6

T in pico

Time describes the duration for your data collection.


an abstraction or concept that is deliberately invented (constructed) by researchers for a scientific purpose

Emergent design

a design that unfolds in the course of a qualitative study as the researcher makes ongoing design decisions reflecting what has already been learned

Gaining entree

process of gaining access to study participants through the cooperation of key actors in the selected community or site

Grounded theory

an approach to collecting and analyzing qualitative data that aims to develop theories grounded in real-world observations

Intervention protocol

the specification of exactly what an intervention and alternative treatment conditions will be, and how they are to be administered

Literature reveiw

a critical summary of research on a topic, often prepared to put a research problem in context or to summarize existing evidence

Steps of The conceptual phase of research

(1) defining the problem to be studied; (2) doing a literature review; (3) engaging in clinical fieldwork for clinical studies; (4) developing a framework and conceptual definitions; and (5) formulating hypotheses to be tested.

Steps of The planning phase of planning research

(6) selecting a research design; (7) developing intervention protocols if the study is experimental; (8) specifying the population; (9) developing a sampling plan; (10) specifying methods to measure the research variables; (11) developing strategies to safeguard the rights of subjects; and (12) finalizing the research plan (e.g., conferring with colleagues, pretesting instruments).

Empirical phase

13) collecting data; and (14) preparing data for analysis

Analytical phase

analyzing data through statistical analysis; and (16) interpreting the results.

Dissemination phase

(17) communicating the findings; and (18) efforts to promote the use of the study evidence in nursing practice.

emergent design

involves data collection and analysis procedures that can EVOLVE over the course of a research project in response to what is learned in the earlier parts of the study

Blind review

Review of manuscript or proposal such that neither the author nor the reviewer is identified to the other party

Level of significance

possibility of making a type I error

Type one error

rejecting true null hypothesis

Type II error

Accepting false Null hypothesis

Alpha or p value

refers to probability of making type I error


Probability of making a type II error (accepting false null hypothesis)


the ability of a statistical test to detect true relationships 1-Beta


in qual studies, critical self-reflection about one's own biases, preferences, and preconceptions

Scientific merit

the degree to which a study is methodologically and conceptually sound

Substantive theory

theory in qualitative research that is highly specific limited to a "particular time, research setting, group of population or problem"
It can be transferrable but not generalizable

Audit trail

Method for establishing trustworthiness of qualitative study. A systemic collection of materials and documentation that would allow an independent auditor to come to conclusions about the data


In qualitative research. Authenticity emerges in a report when it conveys the feelings tone of participants' lives as they are lived.
Emerges in qualitative research when it enables readers to develop a heightened sensitivity to the issues being depicted.


the process of reflecting critically on the elf and of scrutinizing personal values that could affect data collection and interpretation


Concerned with the data representing the information the participants provided and the interpretations of those data are not imagined by the inquirer. The potential for congruence between two or more independent people about the data's accuracy relevance or meaning.


qualitative methods engender confidence in the truth of the data and in the researchers interpretation of the data The confidence in the truth or value of the findings, has been viewed as the qualitative equivalent of internal validity.


the stability of data over time and over conditions, is somewhat analogous to reliability in quantitative studies

Disconfirming evidence

Qualitative process Involves the systematic search for data that will challenge a categorization or explanation that has emerged early in the analysis.

Inquiry audit

involves a scrutiny of the data and relevant supporting documents by an external reviewer. This is more systematic and targeted than peer debriefing. More like fiscal audit than peer review.

Member checking

Researchers give participants feedback about emerging interpretations and then obtain participants reactions. Ensures researchers have properly interpreted participants meaning Thus enhancing credibility.

Negative case analysis

Process by which researchers revise their interpretations by including cases that a appear to disconfirm earlier hypotheses with the goal of refining the hypothesis until it accounts for all cases.

Peer Debriefing

Exposes researchers are exposed to searching questions of others who are experienced in research

Persistent observation

Inquirer must explore details of the phenomena under study to a deep enough level that he or she can decide what is important and what is irrelevant and focus on the most relevant aspects. Property in qualitative research that ensures quality.

Prolonged engagement

Where sufficient time has been spent collecting data to ensure an in depth understanding of the culture language or views of the people or group under study. necessary in qualitative research to increase the quality of study.

Researcher credibility

Reflects the qualifications, experiences and relationship of researcher to topic. Needed to establish credibility of research

Thick description

rich thorough and vivid description of research context, the participants, the experiences and methods. Necessary for transferability in qualitative research.


the analog generalizability, is the extent to which qualitative findings can be transferred to other settings or groups. Established through the study providing sufficient descriptive data so that consumers can evaluate the applicability of the data to other contexts

Data triangulation

the use of multiple data sources for the purpose of validating conclusions

Time Triangulation

involves collecting data on the same phenomenon or about the same people at different points in time. (different times of year/Different times of day)

Space triangulation

Data collections on the same phenomenon in multiple sites to test for cross site consistency

Person triangulation

collecting data from different types or levels (individual vs community) of people. Aim to validate data through multiple perspectives

Method triangulation

The use of multiple methods of data collection to study the same phenomenon (e.g., interview, focus group, observation)

Investigator triangulation

The use of two or more researchers to make data collection


refers to qualitative studies and references 4 key qualities a study must have Credibility Dependability Transferability Authenticity

Counterfactual model

Model that hypothetically explores what would have happened if the same group of people weren't exposed to a treatment. Method of checking cause effect relationship

Stepwise replication

Dividing the research team into two groups to undertake parallel analyses and interpretations that are then compared


the loss of participants over the course of a study, which can create bias by changing the composition of the initial sample

Case-control design

a nonexperimental design involving the comparison of "cases" (i.e., people with the condition being studied), and matched controls (similar people without the condition)

Crossover design

Subjects are exposed to 2+ conditions in random order.
Subjects serve as their own control.

Crosssectional design

a study design in which data are collected at one point in time; sometimes used to infer change over time when data are collected from different age/developmental groups

Factorial Design

an experimental design in which two or more independent variables are simultaneously manipulated, permitting a separate analysis of the main effects of the independent variables and their interactions

Homogeneity in terms of reliability of an instrument,

Technique for controlling subject characteristics the degree to which its subparts are internally consistent (are measuring the same critical attribute); more generally, the degree to which objects are similar

Intervention fidelity

the extent to which implementation of a treatment is faithful to its plan


Technique for controlling subject characteristics matching subjects on a one-to-one basis to make groups comparable on the extraneous variables

Maturation threat

Threat to internal validity
changes resulting from the passage of time


Threat to internal validity
effects attributable to subject attrition

Nonequivalent control groupd design

a quasi-experimental design involving a comparison group that was not created through random assignment

Pretest-posttest design/before and after design

an experimental design in which data are collected from research subjects both before and after introducing an intervention

Prospective design/Cohort design

study design that begins by measuring a presumed cause and then goes forward in time to measure presumed effects
Stronger than respective design in supporting causal inferences

Quasi experiment/non-randomized trial

a design for testing an intervention in which participants are not randomly assigned to treatment conditio

Retrospective design

an outcome in the present is linked to a hypothesized cause occurring in the past
Weaker than prospective design in supporting causal inferences

Selection threat

threat to internal validity resulting from preexisting differences between groups under study; differences affect the DV in ways extraneous to the IV's effect (natural differences between groups can be confounding)

Time-series design

quasi-experimental design involving the collection of data over an extended time period with multiple data collection points both before and after an intervention

Temporal ambiguity

Inability to establish proper time order

History threat

other events co-occurring with causal factor that could also affect outcomes
only a potential threat for one-group design [measuring pre-test, post-test scores]
In a two-group design, groups are measured to be 'equal'

analytic triangulation

is the process whereby a researcher calls upon a unbiased peer to aid in probing the researcher's thinking around all or parts of the research process.