Understanding Research Findings

Chapter 17

Understanding Research Findings

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Learning Outcomes

Discuss the difference between the “Results” section of a study and the “Discussion” section

Identify the format of the “Results” section

Determine whether both statistically supported and statistically unsupported findings are discussed

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

 

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Learning Outcomes

Determine whether the results are objectively reported

Describe how tables and figures are used in a research report

List the criteria of a meaningful table

Identify the format and components of the “Discussion” section

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

 

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Learning Outcomes

Determine the purpose of the “Discussion” section

Discuss the importance of including generalizations and limitations of a study in the report

Determine the purpose of including recommendations in the study report

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

 

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Learning Outcomes

Discuss how the strength, quality, and consistency of evidence provided by the findings are related to a study’s limitations, generalizability, and applicability to practice

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Findings

Results, conclusions, interpretations, recommendations, generalizations, and implications for future research and nursing practice

Presented in two major areas:

Results

Discussion of the results

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Findings are the results, conclusions, interpretations, recommendations, generalizations, and implications for future research and nursing practice

Presented in two major areas: the Results and the Discussion of the results.

  • The “Results” section focuses on the results or statistical findings of a study
  • “Discussion” section focuses on the remaining topics

Results Section

Also called:

Statistical analyses

Data analysis

Analysis

Should reflect analysis of each research question or hypothesis tested

Identifies tests used

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Where the quantitative data or numbers generated by the descriptive and inferential statistical tests are presented

The results section may also be called the

  • Statistical analyses
  • Data analysis
  • Analysis

Should reflect analysis of each research question and/or hypothesis tested.

The tests used to analyze the data should be identified. If the exact test that was used is not explicitly stated, then the values obtained should be noted.

 

Results Section

Relevance or usefulness of findings:

Statistically significant findings

  • Design strength
  • Limitations identified
  • Bias controlled

Unsupported hypothesis

  • Testing existing practice
  • Basis for continued research

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If a hypothesis is not supported statistically, or it is only partially supported, the study is still relevant.

Unsupported studies can be used to identify limitations (problems with the study’s validity, bias, or study weaknesses).

Data from unsupported studies may suggest that current modes of practice or current theory in an area may not be supported and should be reexamined and researched further.

Role of Tables and Figures

To report results with some detail that the investigator does not explore in the text

A good table is one that meets the following criteria:

Supplements and economizes the text

Has precise titles and headings

Does not repeat the text

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Discussion Section

Discussion of the findings

The study’s limitations

Recommendations for

Practice

Future research

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Contains the

  • Discussion of the findings
  • The study’s limitations
  • Recommendations for practice
  • Recommendations for future research

Enables the research consumer to judge the validity of the interpretations drawn from the data and the general worth of the study

Recommendations Section

Suggestions for application to:

Practice

Theory

Further research

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The investigator’s suggestions for the study’s application to practice, theory, and further research:

  • What contribution to nursing does this study make?
  • What are the strength, quality, and consistency of the evidence provided by the findings?
  • Does the evidence provided in the findings validate current practice or support the need for change in practice?

Critiquing Criteria for Research Findings

Are the results of each of the hypothesis presented?

Is the information regarding the results concisely and sequentially presented?

Are the tests that were used to analyze the data presented?

Are the results presented objectively?

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Critiquing Criteria for Research Findings

If tables or figures are used, do they meet the following standards?

They supplement and economize the text.

They have precise titles and headings.

They are not repetitious of the text.

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Critiquing Criteria for Research Findings

Are the results interpreted in light of the hypothesis and theoretical framework, and all of the other steps that preceded the results?

If the data are supported, does the investigator provide a discussion of how the theoretical framework was supported?

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

 

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Critiquing Criteria for Research Findings

How does the investigator attempt to identify the study’s weaknesses (i.e., threats to internal and external validity and strengths) as well as suggest possible solutions for the research area?

Does the researcher discuss the study’s clinical relevance?

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Critiquing Criteria for Research Findings

Are any generalizations made, and if so are they within the scope of the findings or beyond the findings?

Are any recommendations for future research stated or implied?

What is the study’s strength of evidence?

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The ultimate goal of nursing research is to do what?

Develop nursing knowledge and evidence-based nursing practice

Get nurses into the practice of research

Increase the amount of quantitative nursing studies

Develop clinical evidence for practice

Prove standards of care

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

ANSWER: A

RATIONALE: Developing nursing knowledge and evidence-based nursing practice is the goal of nursing research, thereby supporting the scientific basis of nursing.

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Where are the data points interpreted in the research report?

Findings

Results

Recommendations

Discussion

Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

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Copyright © 2014, 2010, 2006, 2002, 1998, 1994, 1990, 1986 by Mosby, an imprint of Elsevier Inc.

ANSWER: D

RATIONALE: Discussion; the data points are presented in “Results” but interpreted in “Discussion.”

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