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A brief description of the study placed at the

beginning of the research report. The abstract is
about 100-200 words which answer the following
questions: What was the purpose of the
research study? What were the research
questions? What methods did the researcher
use to answer the research questions or to test
the hypothesis(es)? What did the researcher
find? What were the implications for nursing
practice? (Polit and Beck, pp. 68-69).
Introduction - acquaints the readers with the
research problem, concepts or variables
under study. The introduction should
capture the reader’s interest.
Statement of the problem – an expression of
a dilemma or disturbing situation that
needs investigation.
• Problem Statement should address the following:
– Problem identification: What is wrong with the current
– Background: What is the nature of the problem, the
context of the situation that readers need to
– Scope of the problem: How big a problem is it; how
many people are affected?
– Consequences of the problem: What is the cost of
not fixing the problem?
– Knowledge gaps: What information about the
problem is lacking?
– Proposed solution: What is the basis for believing
that the proposed study would contribute to the
solution of the problem?
Example Research Problem
• Nursing care in hospitals is extensive,
provided by a variety of professionals, and
extremely expensive. Nursing studies
have shown that nursing care delivery
changes affect staff and organizational
outcomes, but the effects on client
outcomes have not been studied
sufficiently. (Blegen, Goode, & Reed,
Example Research Problem
• “Breast cancer is a significant health problem for
midlife women, with an estimated 193,700 cases
diagnosed in the United States in 2001 . . .
Women with breast cancer therapy who
experience chemotherapy induced premature
menopause report more physical symptom
distress and poorer sexual functioning than other
breast cancer survivors . . .
How young midlife women respond to drug
induced premature menopause in the context of
newly diagnosed early stage breast cancer and
adjuvant chemotherapy is unknown.” (Knobf,
2002, pp. 9–10)
• Purpose
– Goal, aim, focus, or objective of the study
– Clear, concise statement
– Includes variables, population, and setting

• The purpose of this study was to

– Describe . . .
– Determine differences between groups . . .
– Examine relationships among . . .
– Determine the effect of . . .
Example Research Purpose
• The purpose of this study was “to describe, at
the level of the nursing care unit, the
relationships among total hours of nursing care,
registered nurse (RN) skill mix, and adverse
patient outcomes.” (Blegen et al., 1998)
• The purpose of this study was to develop a
substantive theory that would describe and
explain women’s responses to chemotherapy
induced premature menopause within the
context of breast cancer.” (Knobf, 2002, p. 10)
• Significance of the study to nursing
– Implications for nursing practice; potential to produce
evidence for improving nursing practice
– Extension of knowledge base; extends, refines or
corroborates previous knowledge
– Promotion of theory development; does the study test
or develop a theory?
– Correspondence to research priorities; address a
research priority that has been established by
research scholars, agencies that fund nursing
research (NINR) and professional nursing
• Research questions - interrogative statements
that focus on what variables or concepts are to
be described and what relationships might exist
among them.
• What is the relationship between reported
depressive symptoms and rate of return to work
for patients following cardiac surgery?
• What is the relationship of anxiety and
compliance with medications and follow-up
appointments for patients following cardiac
• Research hypothesis(es)- formal
statement of the expected relationships
among variables
– Directional
– Nondirectional
– Research
– Null (Statistical)
Examples of Hypotheses
• Directional - Attitudes of pediatric nurses toward
mentally retarded clients are more favorable
than those of medical surgical nurses.
• Nondirectional - Attitudes of pediatric nurses
toward mentally retarded clients are related to
number of years in practice.
• Research – statements of expected relationships
between variables (include directional and
• Null - There is no difference in reported pain
experienced by cancer patients with chronic pain
who listen to music with positive suggestion of
pain reduction and those who do not.
• Theoretical/Conceptual Framework
• Theory is an abstract generalization that presents a
systematic explanation about how phenomena are
related which embodies at least two concepts that are
related in a manner that the theory attempts to explain.
– Example – Theory of Reinforcement states that behavior that is
reinforced (rewarded) tends to be repeated and learned.
• Concepts of the theory include reinforcement and learning
• Proposition – behavior that is reinforced tends to be repeated and
• Deductive hypothesis generation (Ex. Hyperactive children who are
praised or rewarded when they are engaged in quiet play will exhibit
less acting-out behaviors than similar children who are not praised.
• This hypothesis can then be tested.
• Grand Theories – attempt to explain large
segments of the human experience
• Middle Range Theories – attempt to
explain a portion of the human experience
• Conceptual Model - Represent a less
formal attempt to explain phenomena than
theories; do not have formal propositions
about relationships among phenomena
Commonalities—Theories and
Conceptual Models
• use concepts as building blocks
• require conceptual definitions of key concepts
• can be depicted in schematic models
• are created by humans
• are developed inductively
• cannot be proved—they are supported to greater
or lesser degrees
• can be used to generate hypotheses
• can serve as a stimulus to research
Conceptual Models of Nursing

Formal explanations of what nursing

practice is

Four concepts central to models of nursing:

– Person
– Environment
– Health
– Nursing
Some Conceptual Models Used
Frequently by Nurse Researchers
Conceptual models of nursing:
• Roy’s Adaptation Model
• Orem’s Self-Care Model

Other models developed by nurses:

• Pender’s Health Promotion Model (HPM)
• Mishel’s Uncertainty in Illness Theory
Conceptual and Operational
• Conceptual definition – the abstract or
theoretical meaning of the concepts under
• Operational definition – specifies how
variables will be observed or measured;
operational definitions should correspond
to conceptual definitions. .
Example of Conceptual and
Operational Defintions
• Self-care (Conceptual Definition)- action directed
by individuals to themselves or their
environments to regulate their own functioning
and development in the interest of sustaining
life, maintaining or restoring integrated
functioning under stable or changing
environmental conditions, and maintaining or
bringing about a condition of well-being.
• Self-Care (Operational Definition) – the Denyes
Self-Care Questionnaire will be used to measure
self-care in the current study.
Literature Review?
• What Is a Literature Review?
• A literature review in a research report is a
summary of current empirical and theoretical
knowledge about a particular practice problem
that provides a basis for the study conducted.
• Empirical literature: includes relevant studies
• Theoretical literature: includes concept analyses,
theories, and models that support the research
Literature Review
• Conducting a Literature Review
• The process of examining an extensive
number of research and theoretical
sources to generate a picture of what is
known and not known about a clinical
Writing a Review of the Literature
• Purposes
– Document the current knowledge of a
selected topic
– Indicate findings that are ready for use in
• Outline
– Introduction
– Empirical literature
– Summary
Writing a Review of the Literature
• Introduction
– Indicates focus or purpose of review
– Describes organization of sources
– Indicates basis for ordering
• Most important to least
• Earliest to most recent
• Categories
Writing a Review of the Literature
• Empirical Literature
– Includes quality studies relevant to topic
– For each study, purpose, sample, sample
size, design, and specific findings presented,
using paraphrasing rather than direct quotes
– Scholarly, but brief, critique of study’s
strengths and weaknesses
Literature Review: Ethical Issues
• Content from studies must be presented
honestly and not distorted to support a selected
utilization project.
• The weaknesses of a study need to be
addressed, but it is not necessary to be highly
critical of a researcher’s work.
• Criticism should focus on the content, be related
to your project, and be neutral and scholarly
rather than negative and blaming.
• Sources should be accurately documented.
Literature Review: Summary
• Concise presentation of the research
knowledge about a selected topic—what is
known and not known
• Judgment stating whether there is
adequate knowledge to direct a change in
clinical practice
• Brief statement of proposed change in
• Research Design – the overall plan for obtaining
answers to the research questions.
• The following questions will need to be
– Will there be an intervention?
– What types of comparisons will be made?
– How will extraneous variables be controlled?
– When and how many times will data be collected?
– In what setting will the study take place?