Using the knowledge and insights gained from the textbook and other reliable sources answer the following.
- In your own words, define quantitative research and provide two examples of quantitative designs with a brief explanation of each design.
- Identify a potential quantitative research study that is important to nursing and describe which design you would use for this study, why you would use that design, and how the information generated from the study could be applied in nursing practice.
- Reflect as to the value of quantitative research adding to the science, knowledge, and practice of nursing.
In this unit, you will have the opportunity to develop seven preliminary questions that you will use to appraise and determine the quality of quantitative evidence. Not all evidence is “created alike.” Determining how to evaluate evidence will help you learn the concepts of validity and reliability, as well learn five common statistical errors in quantitative studies. For example, while the data in the study may be reliable for that particular sample, it may be not be valid to use it for your practice setting. Learning to make these types of decisions from a systematic review will be the focus of this unit.
In this section you will learn how to critically appraise a study design. For example, you will answer important questions such as why the study was done, what the sample size may be, and whether the variables are valid and reliable.
Using the seven preliminary questions you will learn to ask the following questions of the reviews you conduct:
- Why was the study done?
- What is the sample size?
- Are the measurements valid and reliable?
- How was the data analyzed?
- Were there any untoward events in the study?
- Do the results fit with previous research?
- Does the research have specific meaning for clinical practice?
It is important to recognize common statistical errors, such as bias. You will learn how important randomly assigning participants are for study value. An important aspect of systematic reviews is recognizing potential errors and bias in research. If you do not account for this you could accept studies as evidence that have errors in their design.
Random assignment of participants is the key to being able to see a cause and effect with an intervention. Without randomization, the results could be biased with a particular group response to the study. That makes it difficult to make a cause and effect relationship. This is the foundation of randomly assigning participants to a study, understanding the difference between a control group and an intervention group.