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Electronic databases

Bibliographic files that can be accessed by the computer through an online search (i.e., directly communicating with a host computer over telephone lines or the Internet) or by CD-ROM (compact discs that store bibliographic information).


Empirical literature

Data-based literature that presents reports of completed research; also called scientific literature.


Literature review

1. A critical summary (i.e., one that points out strengths and weaknesses) of the most important scholarly literature on a particular topic. Scholarly literature can refer to research-based publications and conceptual or theoretical literature.
2. The purpose is *not* to demonstrate a comprehensive understanding of the general area, but to place the hypotheses and/or research questions in the context of previous work to support and explain knowledge that this study intends to fill.


Operational definitions

1. Explanations of concepts or variables in terms of how they are defined for a particular study.
2. Clear-cut statements of how variables are measured; especially important for quantitative research. Usually found in the *methods* section.
3. Concepts such as "spiritual well-being" must be translated to measurable definitions that are valid reflections of the concepts.


Primary source

Source reported by the person(s) who conducted the research or developed the theory; refers to original data or firsthand facts.


Problem statement

1. A statement of the topic under study, outlining all relevant variables within the study, providing justification for the choice of topic, and *guiding the selection of the research design*.
2. Justifies the study by citing background information about the problem and its contributions to practice, theory, or both.
3. Should express the *relationship* between two or more variables.


Purpose statement

1. A statement that describes *why* the study has been created.
2. Specifies the overall *goal/intent/objectives* of the research while clarifying the knowledge to be gained.
3. May be a declarative statement, a question, or a hypothesis.
4. Should include information about what the researcher intends to do (describe, identify, observe); information about the setting (where the researcher plans to collect data); and information about the subjects.


Refereed journals

A journal that determines acceptance of manuscripts based on the recommendations of peer reviewers.



The duplication of research procedures in a second study to determine whether earlier results can be repeated.


Scientific literature

A data-based literature presenting reports of completed research.


Secondary source

Source reported by person(s) other than the individual(s) who conducted the research or developed the theory; usually represents a comment, summary, or critique of another’s work.


Theoretical literature

Conceptual articles presenting reports of theories, some of which underlie research studies, and other non-research-related material.


Selecting and defining a research problem begins with _ and ends with _

Identifying a potential problem; at least one hypothesis or research question.


Ethical and philosophical problems are _

Not researchable (but they can be debated).


Factors determining the feasibility of a study

1. Availability of subjects.
2. Time and money constraints.
3. Researchers' expertise.
4. Cooperation of others.
5. Available resources.
6. Ethical considerations.


Sources of research problems

1. Nursing practice or the investigator's own experience.
2. Literature review.
3. Theory - less likely to involve a clinical problem.
4. Replicating a previous study.


The major purpose of reviewing the literature is to _

Discover what is already known (and what is not known) about the problem.


An appropriate literature review mainly reflects the use of _

Primary sources.


All good literature reviews end with _

A summary statement (or paragraphs) of the state of the science on the topic just discussed.


A good qualitative problem statement _

Conveys a sense of emerging design. [The problem statement is the *foundation* of the research design.]


A literature review serves several functions. They include: (expanding or further defining the problem statement; helping to establish a theoretical base; identifying relationships between variables; all of the above)

All of the above.


The problem statement is usually found _

In the beginning of the report/article.


The purpose statement is usually found _

At the end of the introduction.


Research problem in the infertility/Watson's Theory of Human Caring article

Women who experience infertility have psychosocial needs that are not being addressed.


Purpose statement in the infertility/Watson's Theory of Human Caring article

The purpose of the study is to investigate the effects of nursing care based on Watson’s Theory of Nursing Care on infertility-related distress, perceived self-efficacy, and adjustment related to infertility.


A "current" scholarly source is one that has been published with the last _

3-5 years.


Landmark studies

Significant research studies that generated knowledge that influences the discipline and sometimes society as a whole. Such studies may not be very recent.


Examples of electronic databases

CINAHL (Cumulative Index to Nursing and Allied Health); Ovid; MEDLINE; PubMed; Psych Info; AIDSLINE; Science Direct; ERIC (Educational Resources Information Center).