Comparison of Methodologic Quality and Study/report Characteristics between Quantitative Clinical Nursing and Nursing Education Research Articles

Article excerpt

Abstract

AIM To compare the methodologic quality and study/report characteristics between quantitative clinical nursing and nursing education research articles.

BACKGROUND The methodologic quality of quantitative nursing education research needs to advance to a higher level. Clinical research can provide guidance for nursing education to reach this level.

METHOD One hundred quantitative clinical research articles from high impact journals published in 2007 and 37 education research articles from high impact journals published in 2006 to 2007 were chosen for analysis.

RESULTS Clinical articles had significantly higher quality scores than education articles in three domains: number of institutions studied, type of data, and outcomes.

CONCLUSION The findings indicate three ways in which nursing education researchers can strengthen the methodologic quality of their quantitative research. With this approach, greater funding may be secured for advancing the science of nursing education.

KEY WORDS

Citation Count--Journal Impact Factor MERSQI--Science of Nursing Education

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When compared with clinical nursing research, nursing education research has had a long, albeit limited, history (Brown, Tanner, & Padrick, 1984; Stevens, 1999). Nevertheless, nursing education research is an inclusive science in which both qualitative and quantitative approaches are used and accepted. However, the majority of education research is unfunded (Yonge et al., 2005), and this lack of funding is a potential threat to the advancement of the science of nursing education. As Diekelmann (2005) comments, the "lack of a sustained funding stream in nursing education further precludes examining educational issues over time, from multiple perspectives and using multiple methods" (p. 64). Furthermore, Broome (2009) suggests that an assessment of the methodologic quality of nursing education research would reveal "similar patterns" (p. 178) to medical education research in which studies receiving significant funding are likely to have higher methodologic quality than studies receiving less funding.

In 2011, Yucha, Schneider, Stayer, Kowalski, and Stowers performed an assessment of 133 quantitative nursing education studies and found the studies to be of medium methodologic quality. This level of quality is similar to that of medical education research (Yucha et al.). In addition, leaders in nursing education are still voicing a concern about the methodologic rigor of education research. Tanner (2011) states, "Nursing education research lacks common metrics or standardized approaches for the evaluation of learning outcomes that are relevant for a practice discipline" (p. 492). Valiga and Ironside (2012) explain that "the research currently being conducted in nursing education is not as substantive and rigorous as it needs to be" (p. 3). They identify multiple areas for improvement.

To improve the methodologic quality of nursing education research, specifically quantitative research, both Diekelmann (2005) and Broome (2009) suggest that the science of nursing education can look to the methodologic rigor of its counterpart, clinical nursing research, for guidance. Specifically, such a comparison could identify methodologic areas that require strengthening to secure greater funding for advancing the science of nursing education. For this reason, our study aim was to compare the methodologic quality and study/report characteristics between quantitative clinical nursing and nursing education research articles.

METHOD

Procedure

The study employed a cross-sectional design. Because this study was an assessment of published literature and did not directly involve human participants, the university's institutional review board deemed the study excluded from review.

Sample

CLINICAL RESEARCH All articles published in 2007 in journals rated among the top five according to 2009 impact factor statistics were selected. …