Title: A Comprehensive Review of Four Investigations for Decision-Making in Nursing Research
In the field of nursing research, effective decision-making is paramount for driving evidence-based practice and ensuring quality patient care. Researchers often employ various investigations to gather and analyze data to inform their decision-making processes. This paper aims to explore and explain four investigations commonly used in nursing research, as outlined in the textbook “Nursing Research: Studying a Study & Testing a Test” by Richard K. Riegelman, MD, MPH, PhD, and Michael L. Rinke, MD, PhD.
1. Experimental Investigations:
Experimental investigations are often considered the gold standard in nursing research for establishing cause-and-effect relationships. These studies involve manipulating an independent variable and observing its impact on a dependent variable within controlled settings. By randomly assigning participants to experimental and control groups, researchers can control for confounding factors and assess the effectiveness of interventions or treatments. Experimental investigations employ randomization, blinding, and rigorous protocols to ensure internal validity.
For instance, a study examining the effect of a new medication on post-operative pain in surgical patients would implement an experimental investigation. The researcher would randomly assign participants to two groups: the experimental group receiving the new medication and the control group receiving a placebo. By comparing the pain scores between the two groups, the researcher can determine whether the medication has a significant impact on pain reduction.
2. Descriptive Investigations:
Descriptive investigations focus on describing phenomena or characteristics of interest within a population or specific groups. These studies provide valuable information on prevalence, incidence, and patterns of a health issue, enabling researchers to identify potential risk factors and plan interventions accordingly. Descriptive investigations utilize various methods, such as surveys, observations, and interviews, to collect data.
For example, a descriptive investigation may be conducted to assess the prevalence of antibiotic resistance among patients admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU). Researchers would collect data on the antibiotic susceptibility of various pathogens isolated from ICU patients, aiming to determine the prevalence and distribution of antibiotic resistance in this specific population.
3. Correlational Investigations:
Correlational investigations aim to examine the relationship between two or more variables. These studies assess the degree and direction of the association between variables without manipulating them. By measuring variables simultaneously or over time, researchers can determine whether changes in one variable correspond to changes in another.
Suppose a researcher intends to investigate the relationship between smoking and the development of lung cancer. They would employ a correlational investigation to assess the strength and direction of the relationship between smoking behavior and the incidence of lung cancer. Results could indicate a positive correlation, suggesting that as smoking behavior increases, so does the risk of developing lung cancer.
4. Qualitative Investigations:
Qualitative investigations focus on exploring in-depth perceptions, experiences, and meanings associated with a particular phenomenon. These studies utilize non-numerical data, such as interviews, focus groups, and observations, to gather rich and contextual information. Qualitative investigations aim to capture the complexity and nuances of human experiences, providing valuable insights into patient perspectives, healthcare practices, and cultural factors influencing health outcomes.
For instance, a qualitative investigation may explore the experiences of caregivers providing palliative care to patients with advanced cancer. By conducting interviews with caregivers, the researcher can uncover the emotional, psychological, and social challenges they face, shedding light on the need for support systems and interventions tailored to their needs.
Effective decision-making in nursing research relies on employing appropriate investigations to gather and analyze data. Experimental investigations establish cause-and-effect relationships, descriptive investigations provide essential information on prevalence and patterns, correlational investigations examine associations between variables, and qualitative investigations explore in-depth perceptions and experiences. By understanding and utilizing these investigations, nurse researchers can contribute to evidence-based practice and improved patient outcomes.