Term Paper: Nursing Research Report the Structure

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[. . .] Other considerations that a researcher must account for within the design section of the study are directly related to the manner by which a sample has been selected, the fashion by which the assessment instrument is administered, possible limitations and delimitations surrounding the investigation, and the applied control procedures. Should these factors not be taken into account there exists a strong possibility that the results, even though statistically analyzed, will be contaminated with error (Polit & Beck, p.8). The Ingersoll, et al. research endeavor fell short of adherence to the aforementioned requirements. Not only did the investigators fail to report on the sampling selection procedure but also the size of their sample simply was not presented or discussed in the "Procedure" section (p.7). Without a full explanation as to sampling procedure and sample size the reader is left with a vacant feeling as to the efficacy of the results (Polit & Beck, p.660). As best that can be determine by way of reviewing this particular article is that the sampling procedure was non-random, without a statement as to size, and without dependent variable identification. The Ingersoll group also committed one of the greatest biasing errors in sampling known to experimental research, namely offering an incentive (monetary)(p. 7) to groups of nurses who failed to complete the questionnaire visa via the initial mailing. The effects of the $100.00 incentive can, and will, affect the results of this investigation in uncounted for and uncontrollable ways.

Put into proper perspective the Ingersoll, et al. research group failed to adequately design their study with respect to sampling procedure, the setting of limitations, the accounting of extraneous and external variable influence, the setting of proper controls, and the choice of statistical methods used. In the end all that can be said is by way of mentioning that the study needs to be re-constructed in proper research methodology format. Some suggestions to the investigators include, but not limited to, randomly select the sample if possible, stratify the sample selection according to the number of dependent variables identified, omit the incentive bias, test for secondary and interaction main effects.

Data Collection and Data Quality One of the most important research tenets to keep in mind is that statistical data procedures produce numerical results that are only as good as the inputted data. For example, some statistical tests can only function properly where assessment data is ordinal, while others exist properly when the data is interval in nature. Unfortunately, however, Ingersoll, et al. did not identify the type of measurement data returned from the two assessment instruments. Not knowing the type of data makes it impossible to determine whether or not the ANOVA technique is best suited. Should the instrument data, for example, be that of the nominal and ranked type then it is possible that the statistic of choice is a Kruskal-Wallis ANOVA rather that the chosen Fisher ANOVA. Again, however, not knowing the type and classification of data garnered from the two administered assessment instruments it is impossible to determine which is more suited.

With reference to the procedure followed in administering the two questionnaires the reviewer has, again, some serious concerns. As stated earlier the investigators should have foregone the incentive practice, as there is not way in which to account for the effect this has on the interpretive results. Had the investigators known beforehand as to the possibility of there being a shortage in returned responses, and that an incentive would be used, then the incentive should have been built into the study as an additional independent variable.

An additional area of concern is in reference to the time span that governed the return of results. According to information contained within the "Procedure" section (p. 7) respondents were assessed on a longitudinal basis as to the effects of the a professional practice model on nurses' perception of work groups and nurse leaders. This is the first time the authors mention the use of a longitudinal research procedure. Such a statement clearly belongs in the design section and not the procedure section. Further, statistical procedures are highly sensitive to measurement data gathered visa via longitudinal studies data by way of compounding or accumulated error, sampling attrition, and personal changes that might have taken place with regard to the respondent. As a result a study must be formatted to take into account these extraneous variables.

Other infractions pertaining to data collection and data quality correctness evolve around the areas of questionnaire description, rationale for instrument selection, supportive literature as to the efficacy of instrument choice, and type of data the assessment instrument produces. When choosing an appropriate measurement instrument the investigators must always inform the reader as to the validity and reliability of the measurement technique as well as whether or not the instrument is standardized or non-standardized. As is true for sampling, the appropriateness of the selected statistical tool is dependent on the type of measurement instrument chosen.

Knowing that the Ingersoll, et al. set forth by way of an "experimental" study to test the effects of an independent variable (EPPM), a control situation is necessary. Mailing questionnaires to respondents wherein geographical boundaries are not know, observations cannot be made, and instructions have no follow-up or immediate clarification, greatly biases the results. Control is most important in an experimental study and these particular investigators were not able to exercise the control needed. With reference to the type of scaling being reported by use of this particular measurement instrument there exist no information. The authors clearly needed to have given a great deal more consideration as to the type of measurement instrument chosen and how it was administered Polit & Beck, p. 663).

Data Analysis If all tenets in the planning and execution of a research study have been adhered to, the presentation and interpretation of the results follows a clearly established procedure: a restatement of the null hypothesis followed by a presentation of the mathematical values obtained for the acceptance of rejection of the hypothesis at a given probability level. At this juncture there is to be no interpretive statement as to the meaning of the results or what they might possibly infer. Ingersol, et al. did, indeed, fulfill this particular research report requirement. They presented their ANOVA values appropriately along with the necessary degrees of freedom needed for interpretation at a certain probability level. Herein is where their professional accountability ended. Not having pre-set and acceptable alpha level for the acceptance and/or rejection of the null hypothesis (which there was none) they chose to let the ANOVA values dictate the level of acceptance or rejection. When an investigators permits this to occur, then there exists no way to accept or reject the effects of an independent variable on the assessed independent variable. In addition, Ingersoll, et al. introduced several dependent variables in the results section that were not even mentioned in the introduction or research design section of their research report. To continue with a treatise these investigators violated visa via proper research reporting would take massive explanation. Unfortunately it is not the task of this assignment to cover all that has not been accomplished by the Ingersoll, et al. investigation. At this juncture, suffice it to say these particular investigators have failed miserably in their ability to conduct acceptable experimental research pertaining to the nursing profession. Another troublesome factor, and even though the researchers obtained permission form the research protocol governing board to conduct the study there was no presented evidence that the respondents responded to the questionnaire voluntarily - a research ethics' requirement in any experimental study.

Discussion, Interpretation, and Conclusions Knowing that so many errors exist in the research report being reviewed this reviewer is hard pressed to find any mentionable redeeming value. Without the proper identification of a research question, the statement of a corresponding null hypothesis, the selection of an appropriate sample to meet the requirements of the selected statistical tool, and the administration of a useful measurement technique, any forthcoming study results are suspect. The explicit lack of congruence between how the investigation should have been assembled and the resulting findings is, academically, not worthy of response. Whenever a study errs so tremendously on the side of poor research facilitation, there exist no need to comment on the study's results. In the case of the present Ingersoll, et al. investigation and research report nothing can be said about the results that are noteworthy. Comment would only give acknowledgement to a study badly conducted.

Summary: Style, Presentation, Rating, and Hierarchical Placement

Having had the opportunity to thoroughly review the research report authored by Ingersoll, et al. The mainstay conclusion would be that a replication cannot be undertaken due to the significant amount of error in design, format, sampling, statistical data analysis, and a host of other research infractions. Although no one likes to be unduly hard on anyone undertaking a research effort,… [END OF PREVIEW]

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