Components of an evidence-based research study
Evidence-based research studies are crucial in the healthcare industry because they promote patient safety and quality of care (Tappen, 2010). Evidence-based practice greatly relies on the adoption of crucial findings obtained from evidence-based research studies. Due to the importance of evidence-based research studies in evidence-based practice, they are conducted following strict guidelines that emphasize the adoption of certain components. The following components should be fulfilled by an evidence-based study: validity, reliability, and representativeness (Tappen, 2010; Boswell & Cannon, 2012).
An evidence-based study that can be used to support evidence-based studies should be valid. This implies that a study must capture what was set out to be examined. In other words, an evidence-based research study should scientifically answer its research questions. In the field of nursing, an evidence-based research study should provide answers that have sound nursing and/or clinical implications (Boswell & Cannon, 2012). For example, a study could aim to determine the impact of IT and professionalism on patient outcomes. If it only reports the impact of IT on patient outcomes, then the study could not be valid because it could not have captured what was intended to be assessed. It has been shown that validity is easily fulfilled in qualitative research studies because the data obtained from respondents can easily be explored (Tappen, 2010). However, research validity in quantitative studies requires the testing of research questions through the use of statistical tests. Validity is a crucial component of evidence-based research studies because it helps to identify study tests and adopt methods that put into consideration ethical and financial factors (Tappen, 2010; Boswell & Cannon, 2012).
Evidence-based practice is supported by scientific findings obtained from reliable evidence-based research studies. The reliability of a research study implies that researchers could use the same methods in similar situations to obtain the same study findings (Boswell & Cannon, 2012). In other words, the reliability of an evidence-based research study allows replication of study methods and realization of the same results. A reliable study in the healthcare industry implies healthcare providers could utilize its findings to offer quality care to patients (Tappen, 2010). On the other hand, a research study that is unreliable cannot be utilized to inform clinical or healthcare decisions. However, a study could be reliable, but not valid. For example, a study could be replicated and yield the same results, which do not reflect the actual observation in healthcare settings. This happens when faulty methods are used in a research study. For instance, a questionnaire characterized by poor design could be used to collect consistent, but wrong results. A research study could also be valid, but not reliable. For example, a research study could capture the questions set out to be answered, but it could not be replicated by scientists to yield the same results (Tappen, 2010; Boswell & Cannon, 2012).
An evidence-based study should be representative. This means that a research study should use a sample size that can be used to infer about the population (Tappen, 2010). Therefore, the number of study participants should represent a larger population. To ensure that a research study is representative, it should use a random sampling method to determine the minimum number of study participants that could allow making conclusions. Through random sampling, healthcare providers can make crucial and exact conclusions about a population. If it is not possible to use random sampling, it would be important to rely on approximations to arrive at a good sample size (Tappen, 2010; Boswell & Cannon, 2012).
The interviewee in this case is a nursing professional in charge of nursing informatics in ABC Healthcare Facility. The interview was as follows:
Interviewer: Good morning.
Interviewee: Good morning. How may I help you?
Interviewer: I am a student from XYZ University and I am set out to understand some crucial information about evidence-based research studies in the healthcare industry.
Interviewee: Ok. I am the nurse in charge of implementing nursing informatics in this facility. I will be glad to answer your questions.
Interviewer: As a leader in the nursing field, what changes have you been involved in implementing?
Interviewee: Well, I am involved in implementing changes with regard to HIT within this facility. I evaluate the impact of HIT applications within the facility and recommend changes that would improve patient outcomes. I implement changes based on the findings I access in evidence-based research studies.
Interviewer: How do you rate the strength of research in the area of HIT? Why?
Interviewee: I think that about 80% of research studies in the area of HIT are strong and can be relied upon to make crucial changes within healthcare settings. The reason I give the rating is that about 20% of the studies in HIT do not follow the standard framework for evidence-based research studies.
Interviewer: Have you ever rejected research findings? Why or why not?
Interviewee: I have rejected findings from many research studies in the past. As a nursing leader, I ensure that I conduct thorough literature reviews of published articles that focus on HIT. I use a defined framework to test the applicability of a research study and I ensure that I grade the quality of a study based on its validity, reliability and representativeness. If I find a study that does not meet all the requirements, then I conclude that it is evidence-based. Such a conclusion leads to rejection of a research study.
Interviewer: What concerns have you had when implementing changes based on research?
Interviewee: I have encountered some challenges during implementation of changes based on research. First, funding has been a major issue because some changes could require funding that is not readily available. Second, healthcare providers within the facility could be reluctant to adopt changes that I aim to implement, and this negatively impacts the pace at which HIT changes are adopted. Third, it has been difficult to assess the effectiveness of HIT changes. This has been the case when changes are complex.
Interviewer: Thank you so much for your time and informative answers to my questions.
Interviewee: You are welcome.
Analysis of the findings
The findings from the interview are important in emphasizing the implications of study findings in implementing changes based on evidence-based research studies. The interview demonstrates that some research findings are rejected when they do not meet the standard requirements of evidence-based research studies. For a study to be accepted and its findings be used to implement changes within a healthcare facility, it has to be valid, reliable and representative. The strength of a research study is based on how well it satisfies the three requirements of evidence-based research studies. Changes based on evidence-based research findings in the healthcare industry could have a slow pace of adoption. Funding constraints and reluctance of healthcare workers could negatively impact implementation of changes from evidence-based research studies. In conclusion, evidence-based practice is based on findings from evidence-based research studies that are valid, reliable and representative.
Boswell, C., & Cannon, S. (Eds.). (2012). Introduction to nursing research: Incorporating evidence-based practice. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Tappen, R. M. (2010). Advanced nursing research. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.