Reliability and validity
The discussion of the instruments used to study the variables is usually included in a “Methods” section under the subheading of “Instruments” or “Measures” (see Chapter 14). Usually each instrument (or scale) used in the study is discussed, as well as its reliability and validity (see Chapter 15). The studies in Appendices A, B, and D discuss each of the measures used in the “Methods” section under the subheading “Measures” or “Instruments.” The reliability and validity of each measure is also presented.
In some cases, the reliability and validity of commonly used, established instruments in an article are not presented, and you are referred to other references.
Procedures and collection methods The data collection procedures, or the individual steps taken to gather measurable data (usually with instruments or scales), are generally found in the “Procedures” section (see Chapter 14). In the studies in Appendices A through D, the researchers indicate how they conducted the study in detail under the subheading “Procedure” or “Instruments and Procedures.” Notice that the researchers in each study included in the Appendices provided information that the studies were approved by an institutional review board (see Chapter 13), thereby ensuring that each study met ethical standards.
Data analysis/results The data-analysis procedures (i.e., the statistical tests used and the results of descriptive and/or inferential tests applied in quantitative studies) are presented in the section labeled “Results” or “Findings” (see Chapters 16 and 17). Although qualitative studies do not use statistical tests, the procedures for analyzing the themes, concepts, and/or observational or print data are usually described in the “Method” or “Data Collection” section and reported in the “Results,” “Findings,” or “Data Analysis” section (see Appendix C and Chapters 5 and 6).
Discussion The last section of a research study is the “Discussion” (see Chapter 17). In this section the researchers tie together all of the study’s pieces and give a picture of the study as a whole. The researchers return to the literature reviewed and discuss how their study is similar to, or different from, other studies. Researchers may report the results and discussion in one section but usually report their results in separate “Results” and “Discussion” sections (see Appendices A through D). One particular method is no better than another. Journal and space limitations determine how these sections will be handled. Any new or unexpected findings are usually described in the “Discussion” section.
Recommendations and implications In some cases, a researcher reports the implications and limitations based on the findings for practice and education, and recommends future studies in a separate section labeled “Conclusions”; in other cases, this appears in several sections, labeled with such titles as “Discussion,” “Limitations,” “Nursing Implications,” “Implications for Research and Practice,” and “Summary.” Again, one way is not better than the other—only different.
References All of the references cited are included at the end of the article. The main purpose of the reference list is to support the material presented by identifying the sources in a manner that allows for easy retrieval. Journals use various referencing styles.
Communicating results Communicating a study’s results can take the form of a published article, poster, or paper presentation. All are valid ways of providing data and have potential to effect high-quality patient care based on research findings. Evidence-based nursing care plans and QI practice protocols, guidelines, or standards are outcome measures that effectively indicate communicated research.
H E L P F U L H I N T If you have to write a paper on a specific concept or topic that requires you to critique and synthesize the findings from several studies, you might find it useful to create an evidence table of
the data (see Chapter 20). Include the following information: author, date, study type, design, level of evidence, sample, data analysis, findings, and implications.
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