School of Nursing


Course: NSG 415, Research in Nursing
Fall Semester 2001
Credit Hours: 2 Semester Hours
Time Allocation: 2 Learning Hours Per Week
Placement: Fall Semester, Senior Year
Prerequisites: NSG 362, NSG/NSGL 370
RN Students: NSG/NSGL 389
Prerequisite OR Corequisite: NSG 410, STT 210 (or an introductory statistics course)
Course Description: Examines the research process as applied to nursing. Introduces research terminology and selected computer applications. Emphasizes methodology and application of research principles, responsibility, and accountability in the research process. Requires development of a preliminary proposal for a nursing research project of limited scope or a nursing research utilization project .

Course Objectives

Relates to Level Objectives

Upon completion of the course, the student will: Prelicensure RN
1. Describe the research process. 1, 3, 5, 12 1, 3, 5, 12
2.Evaluate research findings for their applicability in nursing practice.

4, 5

12, 14

3.Select nursing problems which may be appropriate for clinical research.


6, 12, 14

4.Discuss the role of the nurse in nursing research.

5, 9

6, 7, 12

5.Describe responsibility and accountability as they pertain to nursing research.

5, 12

8, 12, 13

6.Relate the outcomes of nursing research to change within the profession.

5, 7

12, 14

7.Identify own strengths and limitations in involvement in nursing research.

5, 11

9, 12

8.Indicate the importance of communicating research findings.

5, 6

2, 12

9.Utilize a clinical organizing framework as the basis of nursing research.

1, 5

1, 11, 12

  1. Role Development
  2. The Reseach Process
  3. Communicating Nursing Research
  4. Responsibility and Accountability in Nursing



1. Exam I15%
2. Exam II15%
3. Read and React Writing Activities20%
4. Research Article Critique15%
5. Research Project Proposal or
Research Utilization Project
6. Proposal Presentation5%

Total Points100 points


The University of North Carolina at Wilmington requires that all students develop competency prior to graduation in basic computer skills including knowledge of campus use policies, facility with standard applications, and awareness of legal and ethical issues. Students in each major must satisfy the requirements in computer competency as specified by that major.

Nursing 415 is designated as the course in the nursing major which satisfies the University computer competency requirement because: students must possess basic computer skills to satisfactorily progress through the on-line course; all research drafts, article critiques and final proposals are computer generated and submitted electronically, and legal/ethical issues are contained within the course content.

Students are required to have a university e-mail address which is available through the Computing Center.


The School of Nursing grading scale follows.

Numeric RangeLetter Grade
95 - 100 A
90 - 94 A-
87 - 89 B+
84 - 86 B
80 - 83 B-
77 - 79 C+
74 - 76 C
66 - 73 D
0 - 65 F

A grade of C or above is required in each nursing course.
Students are referred to the complete Grading Policies in School of Nursing Student Handbook

Required Textbooks: NSG 415, Fall 2001

American Psychological Association. (2001). Publication manual of the American Psychological Association. 5th ed. Washington, DC: Author.

Lobiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (1998). Nursing Research: Methods, Critical Appraisal and Utilization, 4th Ed., St. Louis: Mosby.

"Study questions" are linked to the Weekly Study Guide. Hopefully, the study questions will assist you in identifying the most important concepts addressed from week to week. Please respond to the study questions as you move through the content; note that answers to at least THREE study questions are due each week by 12:00 noon on Monday of the week following their assignment. For example, answers to study questions for the week of September 3, 2001 are due by 12:00 noon on Monday, September 10, 2001.

Options for the Required Research Development Activity

Two options are available for meeting the NSG 415 course research development requirement:

Research ProposalResearch Utilization Project
The Research Proposal is most appropriate for the prelicensure student who generally has limited clinical experience. The activity consists of developing a standard research proposal of limited scope for a clinical nursing problem. Students who plan to collect and analyze data for their research proposal during NSG 416 (a spring semester elective) MUST complete the Research Proposal option.The Research Utilization Project is most appropriate for the RN student who traditionally comes from varied clinical backgrounds, and will not be collecting and analyzing data and writing a final report based on a research proposal.


  1. Identify a clinical nursing problem.
    Example: You are working on a medical-surgical unit and observe that clients who undergo certain surgical procedures are not achieving effective pain relief with regularly prescribed pain medication. What nursing interventions, other than administering prescribed analgesics, might be used to promote effective pain relief in post-operative clients?

  2. Identify the dependent variable.
    In the clinical problem cited above, the dependent variable is postoperative pain.

  3. Conduct a search of the literature.
    For the above clinical problem, you would focus on research that addresses the effects of various nursing interventions on postoperative pain.

  4. Choose at least two (2) studies that deal with a similar problem, or purpose. Submit copies of the studies with the final paper.
    An example for the above clinical problem would be a study that seeks to answer the following question: "What is the effect of guided imagery on postoperative pain?"

  5. Critically read your identified studies to determine their scientific merit.

  6. Write a 5- to 8- page typed, double-spaced paper that includes the following elements:
    1. Decription of the clinical nursing problem identified
    2. Identification of the studies reviewed
    3. Summary of the research conducted (in each cited study)
    4. Limitations of the research conducted (in each cited study)
    5. How these limitations affect implementation of the new intervention in clinical practice


  1. The summary is succinct, yet included sufficient information about the cited studies; also includes your opinion (and rationale) about whether the findings are ready to be implemented in clinical practice.

  2. Limitations are accurately identified and related to application of findings in clinical practice. (Mark any identified limitations on copies of articles turned in).

  3. The paper reflects clarity of thought and logical progression of ideas and is grammatically correct.

  4. The paper adheres to the most recent APA guidelines.


DIRECTIONS: Develop a research proposal using APA format and the following elements. Please include each as a specific heading. Please note: NO CONTACT CAN BE MADE WITH ANY CLINICAL AGENCY WITHOUT PRIOR AUTHORIZAITON OF THE COURSE COORDINATOR.

  1. INTRODUCTION: In a few short paragraphs, describe the background of the issue being investigated. Give a brief rationale for doing the study.

  2. STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM: In one or two brief paragraphs describe the problem. Be specific and to the point. What is the issue and why is it important to investigate? Why is this a concern for nurses?

  3. DEFINITION OF TERMS: List any terms which a reader may need to have clarified or which might be misinterpreted. Definitions should be operational and each should be stated in one brief sentence.
    Definitions are needed for each term in the dependent and independent variables.

  4. HISTORY OF THE ISSUE: If there is a historical evolution to the issue which may impact on the study, describe it in a few brief paragraphs. Use references as necessary. Order references may be included if appropriate.

  5. REVIEW OF THE LITERATURE: Describe the literature review. Keep your statements objective and report only what the literature reports on the subject. Limit your review to the past five years, unless there is historical information that is important to include.

  6. PURPOSE OF THE STUDY: State what you wish the study to accomplish. Indicate why it is important that the issue be examined at this point in time. State this in no more than one paragraph.

  7. RESEARCH QUESTIONS: You will probably be using research questions rather than research hypotheses. List the research question(s) which you will be investigating. Keep these to one or two and be very specific. This will be reflected by the placement of restrictions on the depth and scope of your study.

    Variables: List the independent and dependent variables. Give examples of possible extraneous or confounding variables.

  8. SUMMARY: Make a brief summarizing paragraph of the importance of the study, the purpose of the study, any significant historical information, and the most important information noted in the literature. Limit this to one or two paragraphs. This section is deleted upon implementation.

    NOTE: The proposal is written in present and future tense until the project is completed. Then past tense is used.


    Subjects: Describe who the subjects are and where they are located, but do not name the actual institution or agency.

    Sampling Plan: Indicate how you plan to select the sample of subjects. Be specific.

    Instrumentation: If you are utilizing a testing instrument such as a questionnaire that you developed of that someone else has developed, describe the instrument. Be brief, but concise. You must have written permission to use the instrument which has been developed by someone else, even if you modify it. If you are developing your own instruments, describe each section.

    Procedure: Indicate how you plan to go about doing the study. BE SPECIFIC.

  10. DATA ANALYSIS: Specify what statistical methods you will utilize in examining the results of the study. Consult with the Course Coordinator in determing which test will be used. Utilize only those tests that you understand sufficiently to interpret their results. State whether charts and graphs will be used and give examples of these. This section becomes the results upon implementation.

    Note: The remainder would be completed in Spring Semester in NSG 416.

  11. Results: In a few brief paragraphs indicated the findings of the study and how you interpret them. Give the findings of each item in narrative form. Ex: Of the total respondents, 44 (44%) wre male and 56 (56%) were female. Give tables to show the findings of each item you investigated. Use charts/graphs to depict the most important or significant findings that you want to highlight.

  12. Conclusions and Recommendations and Limitations: In a few short paragraphs, present a statement which summarizes the findings; indicate what conclusions you draw from these findings and then make any recommendations, including for further study. Indicate the limitations of the study.

  13. Appendix: List in the appendix any supporting information such as a copy of the questionnaire if used, copies of any letters of agreement, and any additional information. Include each of the tables within the Appendix. Ex: Appendix A - Demographic Data, Table A-1 Sex, Table A-2 Religion, etc.


Use of a microcomputer to prepare the manuscript is required. The Course Coordinator wil assist you if you need help to do this.


  1. All elements of the research proposal are satisfactory [???] and presented in the following format:
    1. Introduction
    2. Problem Statement
    3. Definition of Terms
    4. History of the Issue
    5. Review of the Literature
    6. Purpose of the Study
    7. Research Question (specifies variables)
    8. Methods
      • Subjects
      • Sampling Plan
      • Instrumentation
      • Data Collection Procedure
      • Data Analysis Proposed
    9. References
    10. Appendices

  2. The paper reflects clarity of thought, logical progression of ideas, and is grammatically correct.

  3. The paper adheres to the most recent APA guidelines.

last updated: 25 August 2001