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Nursing Research 63-377

Dr. Wally J. Bartfay
“Anyone who has never
made a mistake has never
tried anything new”
(Albert Einstein, 1879-1955)
Review Quiz: True of False?
 1. Research questions are qualitative in nature only?
 2. Hypotheses can be both quantitative & qualitative
in nature?
 3. Hypotheses are never “proved” through
hypothesis testing; rather they are accepted or
 4. A non-directional hypothesis specifies the
expected direction or nature of a hypothesized
 5. A research question guides the type of data to be
collected by the investigator?
Theory in Research
 Is a set of interrelated concepts (building
blocks) that structure a systemic view of
phenomena for the purpose of explaining or
predicting outcomes
 Like a “blueprint” which provides a guide for
modeling a structure or building, what goes
where & how does everything fit together
(bricks, pipes, electrical, heating, etc)
Theory in Research
 Is a set of interrelated concepts that provides a
systematic view of phenomenon
 Guides practice & research
 Practice allows testing of theory & generates ?’s for
 Research contributes to theory-building &
establishing practice guidelines
 Hence, what is learned through practice, theory &
research interweaves to create knowledge fabric of
the discipline of nursing
Relationships Between Theory,
Practice & Research
Practice Research
“Traditional” Types of Theories
 (1) “Grand or macro-theories” attempt to describe &
explain large segments of phenomenon (e.g., chaos
theory, theory of evolution, Roger’s, Orem’s,
 (2) “Middle-range” are more narrow/ restricted in
scope (e.g., decision-making, self-care deficits,
infant bonding)
 (3) “Micro-range” link concrete concepts into a
statement that can be examined in practice &
research (hypotheses are examples here)

Conceptual Models/ Frameworks
 Are symbolic representations of a set of
concepts (building blocks of theories e.g.,
health, anxiety, QOL, CGB, adaptation) &
their proposed relationships

Conceptual Models/ Frameworks: An example
Chain of Infection
Proposed relationships depicting 3 necessary concepts
for chain of infection
Conceptual Models/ Frameworks:
“Rules of Thumb”
 When researchers used quantitative inquiry
& deductive reasoning, often appears at
beginning of paper before discussion
 When researchers use qualitative inquiry &
inductive reasoning, often appears at the end
of the paper in discussion section
Schematic Models
 Are common in both qualitative & quantitative
 They represent phenomena “graphically”
 Concepts & how they are linked are
represented by arrows, symbols, boxes etc
 Useful in clarifying associations among
Statistical Models
 Used in quantitative studies
 Use symbols to express quantitatively the
nature of relationships between defined
 Each concept/ term in model is quantifiable
 Statistical models where probability is used
to describe/ explain & predict outcomes

Critiquing Criteria For Theories,
Conceptual Models & Frameworks
 (1) Is it clearly identified & transparent to the
 (2) Is it consistent with a nursing perspective?
 (3) Is it appropriate to guide the research question(s)
of interest?
 (4) Are concepts/ variables clearly defined?
 (5) Are the links consistent with concepts being
studied and the methods of measurements?
 (6) Are the results (data, findings) examined &
interpreted employing these theories, conceptual
models or frameworks?
Design in quantitative research
 Word implies “the organization of elements
into a masterful work of art”
 It describes the basic strategies that will be
employed to address research ?(s)
Research Design
Research Design
Review of
Research ?s
Interrelationships of review of lit., research ?s, hypotheses, research
Theoretical framework & research design
Element of Control
 Defined as measures used to hold conditions
of study uniform
 Process of holding constant possible
influences on the dependent variable or
 It is established by ruling-out extraneous or
mediating variables that compete with the
independent variable as possible explanation
for achieved outcome
Ways to control for extraneous
 Are variables that interfere with operation of the
phenomena being studied (e.g., age & gender, other
chronic disease conditions present)
 Use homogeneous sample (e.g., menopausal
women aged 55 to 60 years of age, avoid “messy”
 Manipulation of independent variable
 Randomization helps to eliminate bias & aids in
attainment of a representative sample
Threats to Internal Validity
 Asks whether the independent variable really made
difference or change to dependent variable
 History: Another specific event that may effect
outcomes (e.g., media reports on star with breast
CA, so breast-self exams increase)
 Maturation: refers to developmental, biological or
psychological processes that operate within a
subject as a function of time & are external to events
of study (e.g., study to examine effects of vit. E on
preventing cat. in eyes, where age of subject is a
Threats to Internal Validity
 Testing: (e.g., effect of taking a pre-test may
sensitize subject & improve post-test results)
 Instrumentation: (e.g., researcher wants to
compare tympanic, digital & electronic
thermometers to accuracy of mercury-type-
need to check calibration specs pre and
Threats to Internal Validity
 Mortality: loss of study subjects after baseline
measures established
 Selection bias: (e.g., subjects who want to
enter into smoking cessation program, help
to avoid by randomization)
Threats to External Validity
 Deals with possible problems of
generalizability of findings/ outcomes to
additional populations (e.g., study involved
IDDM, can you generalize to NIDDM?)
 Selection effects (sample in study was too
small to generate statistically significant
conclusion- issue of “power”)
Threats to External Validity
 Reactive effects: defined as subjects’ responses to
being studied
 Known as “Hawthorne Effect” (Western Electric
Corporation study on working conditions)
 Here, researchers examined various Rx. Effects
(e.g., turning up or down lights, piping in loud/ soft
music, changing working hours etc)
 No matter what researcher did, workers’ productivity
 Conclusion, workers productivity increased b/c they
were being studied
Threats to External Validity
 Measurement effects: administration of pre-
test in study affects generalizability of
findings to other populations (e.g., “attitudes”
towards AIDS in general where researcher
examines effects of AIDS education program
that deals with “risk factors” associated with
Quantitative Research Designs
 (1) Exploratory or Formative: to gain new
insights, discover new ideas & increase
knowledge about a phenomenon (usually
conducted when little is known about a topic)
 (2) Descriptive: Structured observations or
?s or both are used to describe a
phenomenon, situation, group or
Quantitative Research Designs
 (3) Correlational: primary intent is to explain the
nature of the proposed relationship(s)
 (4) Experimental: Can be used to test cause & effect
relationships & serves as basis of prediction: Must
have following criteria:
 (a) manipulation of treatment variable
 (b) control of one or more constants into the
experimental situation (e.g., temperature, Dx)
 (c) random selection & inclusion of subjects

Quantitative Research Designs
 (5) Quasi-experimental: lacks one or more
criteria for a true experiment
 (6) Evaluative: tests how well a program,
practice or policy is working
 Mark down these dates for Dr. Nancy Edwards,
Visiting Nursing Research Scholar: November 1st
 10 to 11 am “Need for nursing research:
Dissemination & uptake of research evidence” HEC
room 104
 3- 4 pm: Seminar/ workshop: “Developing research
teams & programs of research” HEC room 203
 4 to 5 pm: Major public talk: HEC room 203
Have a great week!!!