A Complete Textbook for GNM Internship Vijay Kumar Gauttam
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91Introduction to Research
Hrs. 45
This course is intended to develop fundamental abilities and attitude in the students towards scientific methods of investigation and utilization of research finding so as to improve practice of nursing.
General Objectives
Upon completion of the course the students will be able to :
  • Describe the need of research in the practice of nursing
  • Describe scientific methods of investigation used in nursing.
  • Participate in small and large research activities of the hospital/unit/ward/community.
Course Content
Unit 3: Introduction
  • Definition/meaning of research
  • Steps in scientific methods
  • Need for nursing research
  • Characteristics of good research.
Unit 4: Introduction to Research Process
  • Statement of research problem
  • Statement of purposes and objectives
  • Definition of research terms
  • Review of literature.
Unit 5: Introduction to Research Approaches
  • Types, methods, advantage and disadvantages of each method.
Unit 6: Introduction to Data Collection Process
  • Data collection
  • Instruments of data collection
  • Characteristics of data collection
  • Techniques of data collection.
Unit 7: Introduction to Analysis of Data
  • Tabulation
  • Classification and summarization
  • Presentation and interpretation of data using descriptive statistics.94
Unit 8: Writing of Report
Unit 9: Introduction to Statistics
Unit 10: Application and Utilization of Research in Nursing Practices
Practical work
Students are to read research literature in the library of the school and participate in or assist in conduction scientific investigation in any health bare setting with the help of the teacher and submit a written report of the investigation in group of five of six, to respective teacher of selected clinical area.
  • Unit 3: Introduction
  • Unit 4: Introduction to Research Process
  • Unit 5: Introduction to Research Approaches
  • Unit 6: Introduction to Sampling and Data Collection Process
  • Unit 7: Introduction to Analysis of Data
  • Unit 8: Writing of Research Report
  • Unit 9: Introduction to Research Statistics
  • Unit 10: Application and Utilization of Research in Nursing Practices

Introductionunit 3

Nursing research is a process of finding out the solution to a problem. It is a sequence of activities which when followed enables the investigator to achieve his/her aim. Research follows the scientific method which is why it can stand the test of time. A scientific practice based on nursing practice, i.e. guided by nursing theory or empirical clinical research findings. Nursing research involves scientific inquiry and so would require knowledge of the characteristics of scientific methods. Research in nursing evolved predominantly when nursing education became a part of higher education and was seeking its own body of knowledge, different from that of medicine. Nursing's first researchers were being prepared in fields other than nursing and have brought to nursing the various paradigms from those fields (Munhall, 2001).
Nursing research refers to the use of systematic, controlled, empirical, and critical investigation in attempting to discover or confirm facts that relate to specific problem or question about the practice of nursing.
In fact, research is an art of scientific investigation. The Advanced Learner's Dictionary of Current English lays down the meaning of research as ‘a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge’.
  • Research is a derivative of the French word; Researche means quest, search, pursuit and search for truth.
  • Research in common parlance refers to a search for knowledge.
  • It is a careful investigation or inquiry especially through search for new facts in any branch of knowledge.
  • 96It is systematized effort to gain new knowledge.
  • According to Clifford Woody research comprises defining and redefining problems, formulating hypothesis or suggested solutions; collecting, organizing and evaluating data; making deductions and reaching conclusions; and at last carefully testing the conclusions to determine whether they fit the formulating hypothesis.
Definition of Research
  • It is a systematic enquiry, which is reported in a form that allows the research methods and outcomes to be accessible to others.
  • According to polit and hungler, ‘A systematic search for knowledge about issues of important to nursing’.
  • According to Schotfetdt (1977), ‘Nursing research is defined as the application of scientific inquiry to the phenomena of concern to nursing. The systematic investigation of patients and their health experience is the primary concern of nursing’.
  • According to Polit and Beck (2004) have broadly defined nursing research as ‘systematic inquiry designed to develop knowledge about issues of importance to the nursing profession, including nursing practice, education, administration, and informatics’.
  • According to burns and grove (2005) have more narrowly defined nursing research as ‘a scientific process that validates and refines existing knowledge and generates new knowledge that directly and indirectly influences clinical nursing practice’.
Traditional scientific research is characterized by several features. The researcher uses systematic, orderly, and objective methods of seeking information. The scientific method uses empirical data, which are data gathered through the sense organs. Information is gained in the form of data or facts that are obtained in an unbiased manner from some aspect of the real world. The researcher tries to exercise as much control as possible over the research situation, to minimize biased results.
The scientific method is a step-by-step procedure for solving problems on the basis of empirical observations. The major elements are:
  • Begin with a “felt difficulty”: What is your interest? What questions do you want answered? How might a theory be applied in a specific ministry situation? What conflicting theories have you found? The felt difficulty is the beginning point for any study.
  • Write a formal “problem statement”: The Problem establishes the focus of the study by stating the necessary variables in the study and what you plan to do with them.
  • 97Gather literature information: What is known? Before you plan to do a study of your own, you must learn all you can about what is already known. This is done through a literature search and results in a synthesis of recent findings on the topic.
  • State hypothesis: On the basis of the literature search, write a hypothesis statement that reflects your best tentative solution to the problem.
  • Select a target group (population): Who will provide your data? How will you find subjects for your study? Are they accessible to you?
  • Draw one or more samples, as needed. How many samples will you need? What kind of sampling will you use?
  • Collect data: What procedure will you use to actually collect data from the subjects? Develop a step-by-step plan to obtain all the data you need to answer your questions.
  • Analyze data: What statistics will you use to analyze the data? Develop a step-by-step plan to analyze the data and interpret the results.
  • Test the null, or statistical, hypothesis: On the basis of the statistical results, what decision do you make concerning your hypothesis?
  • Interpret the results: What does the statistical decision mean in terms of your study?
The scientific method provides a clear procedure for empirically solving problems.
Research is important to nursing in the following ways:
  • It is necessary for the improvement of patient care, through development of new products, procedures and methods of care.
  • It could promote better administrative methods in nursing, and more effective use for staff of all cadres.
  • Nurse administrators find research useful particularly in the aspect of skill mix and staffing levels.
  • As in all other fields, research could form the basis for extension of knowledge in nursing, and provision of scientific knowledge that could enhance the professional status.
  • Research also contributes to better teaching methods, better curriculum, and enhances nursing education.
  • By continuing research and exposing nursing students to clinical settings where research is conducted, nurse educators help the students to become aware of the changing nature of knowledge and the importance of life-long learning, and inquiry.
  • 98Research encourages scientific accountability in nursing practice, and enables nurses to evaluate the efficacy of their care, and modify/abandon those practices shown to have no effect on the health status of the patients.
  • Nursing professionalism is also enhanced through research as more nurses with wide range of knowledge and intellectual ability add to the professional ideals. Practice oriented research is also a great avenue for improving professional practice in nursing.
The scientific research has the following characteristics (Singh, 2002)
  • Research is always directed towards the solution of a problem
  • Research is always based on empirical and observational evidence
  • Research involves precise observation and accurate description
  • Research emphasize to the development of theories, principles, and generalizations
  • Research is characterized by systematic, objective and logical procedures
  • Research is marked by patience, courage and unhurried activities
  • Research requires that the researcher has full experience of the problem being studied
  • Research is replicable
  • Research uses systematic method of problem-solving
  • In research the factors which are not under study are controlled
  • Research requires full skill of writing report.
The basic types of research are as follows:
  • Descriptive vs analytical: Descriptive research includes surveys and fact-finding enquiries of different kinds. The major purpose of descriptive research is description of the state of affairs as it exists at present. In social science and business research we quite often use the term Ex post facto research for descriptive research studies. The main characteristic of this method is that the researcher has no control over the variables; he can only report what has happened or what is happening. Most ex post facto research projects are used for descriptive studies in which the researcher seeks to measure such items as, e.g. frequency of shopping, preferences of people, or similar data. Ex post facto studies also include attempts by researchers to discover causes even when they cannot control the variables. The methods of research utilized in descriptive 99research are survey methods of all kinds, including comparative and corelational methods. In analytical research, on the other hand, the researcher has to use facts or information already available, and analyze these to make a critical evaluation of the material.
  • Applied vs fundamental: Research can either be applied (or action) research or fundamental (to basic or pure) research. Applied research aims at finding a solution for an immediate problem facing a society or an industrial/business organisation, whereas fundamental research is mainly concerned with generalizations and with the formulation of a theory.
    ‘Gathering knowledge for knowledge's sake is termed ‘pure’ or ‘basic’ research’. Four Research concerning some natural phenomenon or relating to pure mathematics are examples of fundamental research. Similarly, research studies, concerning human behavior carried on with a view to make generalizations about human behavior, are also examples of fundamental research, but research aimed at certain conclusions (say, a solution) facing a concrete social or business problem is an example of applied research. Research to identify social, economic or political trends that may affect a particular institution or the copy research (research to find out whether certain communications will be read and understood) or the marketing research or evaluation research are examples of applied research. Thus, the central aim of applied research is to discover a solution for some pressing practical problem, whereas basic research is directed towards finding information that has a broad base of applications and thus, adds to the already existing organized body of scientific knowledge.
  • Quantitative vs qualitative: Quantitative research is based on the measurement of quantity or amount. It is applicable to phenomena that can be expressed in terms of quantity. Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with qualitative phenomenon, i.e. phenomena relating to or involving quality or kind. For instance, when we are interested in investigating the reasons for human behavior (i.e. why people think or do certain things), we quite often talk of ‘Motivation Research’, an important type of qualitative research. This type of research aims at discovering the underlying motives and desires, using in-depth interviews for the purpose. Other techniques of such research are word association tests, sentence completion tests, story completion tests and similar other projective techniques. Attitude or opinion research, i.e. research designed to find out how people feel or what they think about a particular subject or institution is also qualitative research. Qualitative research is especially important in the behavioral sciences where the aim is to discover the underlying motives of human behavior. Through such research we can analyse 100the various factors which motivate people to behave in a particular manner or which make people like or dislike a particular thing. It maybe stated, however, that to apply qualitative research in practice is relatively a difficult job and therefore, while doing such research, one should seek guidance from experimental psychologists.
  • Conceptual vs empirical: Conceptual research is that related to some abstract idea(s) or theory. It is generally used by philosophers and thinkers to develop new concepts or to reinterpret existing ones. On the other hand, empirical research relies on experience or observation alone, often without due regard for system and theory. It is databased research, coming-up with conclusions which are capable of being verified by observation or experiment.
    We can also call it as experimental type of research. In such a research it is necessary to get at facts firsthand, at their source, and actively to go about doing certain things to stimulate the production of desired information. In such a research, the researcher must first provide himself with a working hypothesis or guess as to the probable results. He then works to get enough facts (data) to prove or disprove his hypothesis. He then sets up experimental designs which he thinks will manipulate the persons or the materials concerned so as to bring forth the desired information. Such research is thus characterized by the experimenter's control over the variables under study and his deliberate manipulation of one of them to study its effects. Empirical research is appropriate when proof is sought that certain variables affect other variables in some way. Evidence gathered through experiments or empirical studies is today considered to be the most powerful support possible for a given hypothesis.
  • Some other types of research: All other types of research are variations of one or more of the above stated approaches, based on either the purpose of research, or the time required to accomplish research, on the environment in which research is done, or on the basis of some other similar factor. Form the point of view of time, we can think of research either as one-time research or longitudinal research. In the former case the research is confined to a single time-period, whereas in the latter case the research is carried on over several time-periods. Research can be field-setting research or laboratory research or simulation research, depending upon the environment in which it is to be carried out.
    Research can as well be understood as clinical or diagnostic research. Such research follows case-study methods or in-depth approaches to reach the basic causal relations. Such studies usually go deep into the causes of things or events that interest us, using very small samples 101and very deep probing data gathering devices. The research maybe exploratory or it maybe formalized. The objective of exploratory research is the development of hypotheses rather than their testing, whereas formalized research studies are those with substantial structure and with specific hypotheses to be tested. Historical research is that which utilizes historical sources like documents, remains, etc. to study events or ideas of the past, including the philosophy of persons and groups at any remote point of time. Research can also be classified as conclusion-oriented and decision-oriented. While doing conclusion oriented research, a researcher is free to pick-up a problem, redesign the enquiry as he proceeds and is prepared to conceptualize as he wishes. Decision-oriented research is always for the need of a decision maker and the researcher in this case is not free to embark upon research according to his own inclination. Operations research is an example of decision oriented research since it is a scientific method of providing executive departments with a quantitative basis for decisions regarding operations under their control.
In this unit, we discuss that research is a planned and systematic application of the scientific method to the study of problems. The scientific method provides the basis for research in all fields including nursing. Knowledge of the characteristics and types of research would enable researchers to establish the nature of research they are interested in.