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NUR 80A/B Study Guide - Midterm Guide: Advantageous, Dependent And Independent Variables, Grounded Theory

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Leo Michelis
Study Guide

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NSE 80A Week 2 1
NSE 80B Week 2
Nursing Research
Chapter 2
The Building Blocks of Research
Studies with humans involve 2 sets of people
o Those who conduct the study
o Those who provide the information
In a quantitative study, the people being studied are called the study participants
Respondents- participants who provide information by answering questions, as in an interview
In a qualitative study the participants play an active role and are called informants, key informants, or study
Researcher- the person who ducts the study
Research can be undertaken in various settings ( the specific places where information is gathered) and in one or more
Some studies take place in naturalistic settings in the field (e.g. in people’s homes)
o Others are performed in highly controlled laboratory settings
Qualitative researchers most likely to engage in field work in natural settings because they are interested in the
contexts of people’s lives and experiences
Multisite studies- the use of multiple sites offers a larger or more diverse group of participants
Phenomena, Concepts, and Constructs
Research involves abstract rather than tangible phenomena
E.g. the terms: pain, resilience, and grief are all abstractions of particular aspects of human behaviour and
These abstractions are referred to as concepts (or, in qualitative research, phenomena)
A construct- a mental representation of some phenomenon
o Abstractions that are deliberately and systematically invented ( or constructed) by researchers for a specific
o For e.g., self-care in Orem’s model of health maintenance is a construct
Theories, Models, and Frameworks
Theory- a systematic, abstract explanation of some aspect of reality
o In a theory, concepts are knitted together into a system to explain some aspect of the world
In a quantitative study:
o Researchers may start with a theory or a conceptual model or framework
o Using deductive reasoning, make predictions about how phenomena will behave if the theory were “true”
o The specific predictions are then tested through research
o The results are used to reject, modify, or lend support to the theory
In a qualitative research:
o Theories may be used in various ways
o Sometimes conceptual frameworks derived from various disciplines or qualitative research traditions offer an
orienting view with clear conceptual underpinnings
o Information from participants is the starting point helps to explain patterns emerging from researcher-
participant interactions
o In some of these studies, theory is the product of the research
o The goal is to develop a theory that explains a phenomenon as they emerge, not as they are preconceived
Quantitative Study

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NSE 80A Week 2 2
o Concepts are referred to as variables
o A variable something that varies; any quality of a person, group or situation that caries or takes on different
valuestypically numeric values
E.g. weight, anxiety level, smoking, lung cancer, body temperature ( each of these properties varies
from one person to another)
Can also be inherent characteristics of people; e.g. age, blood type, height
For e.g. if everyone weighed 60 kg, weight would not be a variable; it would be a constant
o Most quantitative researchers seek to understand how or why things vary and to learn how differences in one
variable are related to differences in another
o Sometimes researchers create a variable
For e.g. if a researcher is testing the effectiveness of patient-controlled analgesia compared to
intramuscular analgesia and others would receive intramuscular analgesia
In the context of this study, method of pain management is a variable because different patients are
given different analgesic methods
Dependent Variables and independent Variables
Does a nursing intervention cause improved patient outcomes?
Does a certain procedure cause stress?
the presumed cause is the Independent variable
the presumed effect is the Dependent variable
o Researchers investigate the extent to which lung cancer ( the dependent variable) depends on or is caused by
smoking ( the independent variable)
o Researchers might examine the effect of tactile stimulation ( the independent variable) on weight gain (
dependent variable) in premature infants
The dependent variable sometimes called the outcome variable is the one researchers want to understand, explain
or predict
o In lung cancer/smoking research, it is the cancer that researchers are trying to explain and predict, not
Variables are not inherently dependent or independent
o A dependent variable in one study may be an independent variable in another study
o Example
A study might examine the effect of nurse’ contraceptive counselling ( the independent variable) on
unwanted births ( dependent variable)
Another study might investigate the effect of unwanted births ( the independent variable) on episodes
of child abuse ( the dependent variable)
Conceptual and Operational Definitions
A conceptual definition
o Is the abstract, theoretical meaning of a concept being studied
o E.g. the concept of spirituality
o 4 distinct themes of spirituality : existential reality, transcendence, connectedness, and power/force/energy
o In qualitative studies conceptual definitions of key phenomena may be a major end product, reflecting the
intent to have the meaning of key concepts defined by the participating themselves
o In quantitative studies researchers clarify and define research concepts at the onset because they must
indicate how variables will be observed and measured
An Operational Definition
o Specifies the operations that researchers must perform to collect the required information on a particular
Research Data
o The pieces of information obtained in a study
o All pieces of data gathered in a study to make up the data set
In quantitative studies
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