Nursing Research: Definition, Types, Writing Tips & Topics
Nursing is one of the few professions that always remain in demand. However, the road to becoming a successful nursing professional is not exactly an easy one. You need to complete a 3-year bachelor of nursing to become a Registered Nurse. In other words, you need to attend classes, appear for exams, and conduct nursing research as per your professor’s instructions.
Unfortunately, not a lot of students know what nursing research is, or how to perform it. And since most students don’t usually receive any basic education about nursing before joining the nursing courses, they often find working on such research work to be intimidating. In this article, we have tried to explore all the crucial aspects of nursing research and how students can prepare one on their own.
What is Nursing Research?
Nursing research can be defined as a study conducted within the field of nursing and medical science to find out new knowledge about health care. It tries to find out new and more effective ways to provide care to people with health problems and disabilities. Also, it aims to gather knowledge about new practices that can improve the ability of individuals to respond more effectively to existing or potential health problems.
The importance of nursing research lies in complementing biomedical research which concerns the causes and treatment of disease. As you may realize, the advancements in biomedical research have resulted in increased life expectancies, which further increase the numbers of those who require nursing care. Also, nursing research involves various studies in order to derive clinical interventions from assisting those who need nursing care.
If you are new to the topic of nursing research, let’s make your introduction to nursing research by highlighting a few directions for research. While conducting nursing research, your goal should be to generate knowledge to guide practice in:
Promoting well-being, health, and effective personal care among people across all age groups.
Preventing the negative impact of health problems on productivity, coping abilities, and life satisfaction of individuals.
Designing and developing health care infrastructure that is cost-effective in meeting the nursing requirements of the population.
Ensuring that the health care needs of people, especially the vulnerable groups, are met through appropriate strategies.
While developing the thesis in your nursing research, keep these objectives in mind.
Types of Nursing Research
Depending on the research design of the nursing study, you can classify nursing research into two major types – qualitative research in nursing and quantitative nursing research.
Qualitative research in nursing
In qualitative research, the study is inductive rather than deductive. This begins with broad exploratory objectives. Generally, the researchers use qualitative research designs when there is a gap in knowledge or when there is no adequate knowledge about a particular incident, experience, or concept.
In nursing, qualitative research is used to explore health-related or illness-related experiences, or to improve the understanding of a certain area in the field of nursing. Such research work focuses on data collection, and the qualitative data is sorted into themes, concepts, and theories, rather than numbers. The qualitative research can be further segmented into several other types:
1. Case study
This type of research aims to explore a phenomenon by conducting an in-depth study of a single case example of such phenomenon. The case can be an event, a group, a persona, or an institution.
2. Grounded theory
This type of qualitative research tries to explore the social and psychological processes that characterize a situation or event.
3. Phenomenology research
In this form of research, you need to focus on describing the structures of experience as they present themselves to people, without recourse to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines.
4. Ethnography research
This type of research focuses on the sociology of the meaning through close field observation of phenomena of socio-cultural importance. Usually, a researcher pursuing this kind of research focuses on a community.
5. Historical research
In historical research, you need to conduct systematic collection and objective evaluation of information related to past occurrences to test hypotheses regarding causes, effects, or trends of such events. This helps explain present events and predict future events.
Depending on the nursing research topic, you may need to choose one of these types of qualitative research in nursing or consider working with quantitative nursing research.
Quantitative nursing research
Quantitative research also referred to as "empirical research", is a form of investigation in which numbers are used to measure variables such as characteristics, concepts or things. In nursing studies, quantitative research evaluates the best interventions for patients. By performing quantitative research, they develop a better understanding of how to proceed with patient care.
Quantitative research in nursing can be further classified into several other types of research. Those types are as follows:
1. Descriptive research
This form of study aims to describe the current status of a known variable. Such research projects are designed to offer systematic data about a phenomenon. Researchers usually don’t have any hypothesis to follow at the beginning, but they develop one as they gather relevant data.
2. Correlational research
This type of quantitative research tries to determine the extent of a relationship between two or more variables with the help of statistical data. It helps determine trends and patterns in data. However, it does not go so far in its analysis to prove the cause for such observed patterns.
3. Casual-comparative/Quasi-experimental research
This research type aims to establish cause-effect relationships among the variables. Such investigations are very similar to actual experiments, with some key differences. It identifies an independent variable but does not manipulate it, while the effects of the independent variable on the dependent variable are measured.
4. Experimental research
This form of quantitative research uses the scientific method to establish a cause-effect relationship among a group of variables in the study. Here, an independent variable is manipulated to find out the effects on the dependent variables.
While all these classifications of nursing research are important for a better understanding of the research process, you should also know the major differences between qualitative and quantitative nursing research.
Such research works are generally subjective.
This form of research is generally objective.
This research type uses inductive reasoning to analyze data.
This form of research uses deductive reasoning to analyze data.
This kind of study develops a theory.
This kind of study puts existing theories to the test.
Meaning and discovery are considered the basis of knowledge gathering.
Cause and effect relationships are the basis of knowledge gathering.
The basic elements of analysis are words and narrative.
The basic elements of analysis are numbers and statistical analysis.
Such research works can be conducted in multiple realities that are continually changing with individual interpretation.
Such research works are generally conducted in a single reality that can be measured and standardized.
Nursing Research Paper Writing Help
If you do not feel confident about drafting the paper yourself, here are some suggestions for your nursing research paper writing help. The following tips will be quite useful if you don’t know how to write a nursing research paper:
1. Assess the requirements
Once you are assigned to write a nursing research paper, study the requirements and determine what you need to do. If your instructor has specified a certain type of research for the task or given additional instructions for the paper, note them somewhere and then decide how you want to execute the research paper.
2. Select the right topic
Choosing the right topic is absolutely important for the success of your research paper. If you are given the liberty to choose the topic for your nursing research, consider all the instructions of your professor. Also, ensure there’s enough scope for research in the chosen topic. If you have certain preferences, it will be better to give priority to those topics.
3. Conduct the necessary research
Once you are done choosing the topic for nursing research, you need to conduct in-depth research for the task. Gather all the necessary data regarding the topic and conduct the necessary interviews and surveys for primary data. While collecting the secondary data, make sure they are from authentic sources.
4. Organise the research
When you are done with the research work, it is time to analyze the data and organize the research. You may need to conduct either qualitative analysis or quantitative analysis or perhaps both. Conduct all the necessary steps in the right order if you want to produce a well-knit research paper for nursing.
5. Form a thesis
Finally, when you have analyzed the data and organized your research, you need to form a thesis for the research paper. The thesis writing describes the main point of the research paper and shows where do you stand on the issue. Always form a thesis before you start writing the paper as the thesis is the central element of the research paper content.
6. Create an outline
Before you begin writing the paper, you need to create an outline for the necessary content. This will help you give shape to your research paper content. Moreover, when you have an outline for the content, it becomes easier for you to stay on track and produce concise content. The outline tells you what goes where in the content.
7. Draft the necessary content
Now, start writing the content in compliance with the requirements as well as the outline you have prepared. This may take some time, depending on the depth of details you want to discuss. Try to segment different aspects of the topic under dedicated sub-headings. Also, follow the instructed formatting style while drafting.
8. Proofread and edit the content
In the final step, you need to proofread the content several times and make sure all the sections are error-free. If you find any mistakes in the content, rectify them immediately. Also, look for the areas which could have been presented in a better manner. If you have some time, make the necessary changes in the content to improve the quality and accuracy of the paper. In short, nursing research paper editing and proofreading should be done properly.
Even though there’s not much writing in the nursing profession, you will have to work on your academic writing skills if you want to produce a quality research paper on your own and secure better grades.
Nursing Research Topics For You
Here are some intriguing research topics for nursing students:
Qualitative Nursing Research Topics
Ethics in geriatrics
How to treat a patient with the syndrome of the restless legs
Alzheimer’s disease and proper treatment
The importance of good leadership skills in the nursing profession
Methods to detect an abused elderly patient
Quantitative Nursing Research Topics
Occupational therapy for nurses
Nursing in the 20thand 21st century – the new approaches
Gender ambiguities in nursing practices
Rating systems in the evidence-based nursing practice
How to reduce stress in emergency nurses and prevent burnout?