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Nursing - Using Library Resources for Information and Research

Online guide to research for FAU College of Nursing Students

Nursing Research Defined

Nursing research defined. 

Nursing research is defined as applying methods of scientific inquiry to explore phenomena of interest within the nursing field.  It is an accepted means of progressing knowledge in nursing (Brockopp & Hastings-Tolsma, 2003).

Throughout its curriculum, the FAU College of Nursing emphasizes the following skills for its students in order for them to develop into scholars and scholars-to-be:

  • Locate and retrieve professional literature:  Students will use nursing and other health science information sources (e.g., CINAHL, PubMed/MEDLINE) to find articles published in the professional literature of nursing and other related fields.

  • Acquire knowledge about the research process:  Students will define types of qualitative and quantitative research, identify various of research designs, and describe the empirical steps taken to do research.  

The following skills will have greater emphases among graduate students while undergraduates may be introduced to them:

  • Critically review or appraise research:  Students will begin evaluating what they find in the professional literature as well as a study's overall quality and usefulness through appraisal of its premise, design, conclusions, and other attributes.  Students will use findings from original research to inform their practice, which is an essential skill.

  • Conduct nursing research:   Students will form a research question, review the literature, use appropriate study designs and instrumentation, analyze the results, and communicate what is discovered through their inquiry.

Evidence-Based Practice

Evidence-Based Care or PracticeEvidence-based practice

The nursing field applies evidence based practice (EBP) as an approach to answering questions about clinical practice and administrative issues by using the best available research or evidence.  It may also be known as evidence based care, or evidence informed care or practice.

EBP is defined as as, "the conscientious use of current best evidence in making decisions about patient care" (Melynyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2005). 

EBP heavily draws on primary or original research from nursing and other health science fields to inform questions that may rise through practice.

Brockopp, D. Y., & Hastings-Tolsma, M.T. (2003). Fundamentals of nursing research (3rd Ed.). Jones and Bartlett.

Melynyk, B., & Fineout-Overhold, E. (2005). Making the case for evidence-based practice. In B. Melnyk & E. Fineout-Overholt (Eds.), Evidence-based practice in nursing and healthcare: A guide to best practice (pp. 3-24). Lippincott Williams and Wilkins.

Images: by CC0.

Nurses as Scholars and Scholars-To-Be

Nurses as Scholars and Scholars-to-Be.

The skills of a scholar include critical and creative thinking. A valuable mindset is to have the element of skepticism when reading information, such as asking questions about authorship and scientific approach. Reading research study publications allows scholars to observe the logical flow that begins in the introduction, and continues through the literature review to reach the study problem, the study purpose, and the findings with discussion.  A scholar can then prepare a logical treatise as a sound, rational argument; a display of a discerning mind (Sakraida, 2018).

The transitional and formative personal and professional effort coined as a concept, referred to as a scholar-to-be, offers a conceptual framework that promotes professionalism, application of principles and values of science, and use of a resource toolbox to support scholar formation.

Whatever your role as a nurse may be, understanding how to find, interpret, apply and carry out research are essential skills.  The information found by using these skills will also prepare scholars to integrate evidence, evaluate outcomes, and communicate their findings. The emphasis of nurses as scholars is on translation of current evidence into nursing practice.  

Source:  Sakraida, T. (2018). Transition to a scholar-to-be [NUR 4739 Canvas Course]. Florida Atlantic University.

Last updated on Feb 23, 2024 11:55 AM