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  #1  
Old 09-17-2007, 05:10 PM
Jess
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So I'm taking an introduction to the fundamentals of Nursing Research this term and it is quite confusing. Has anyone taken Nursing Research before? Any tips?

For example, our first pass/fail assignment is an abstract critique. I'm not too sure what it is and I was wondering if anyone could explain it to me. I know what an abstract in an article is, but how in the world are we suppose to critique it? "Oh, the abstract is too short?"

Can anyone find me examples online of abstract critiques or explain how to critique an abstract to me? Thank you so much!
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:10 PM
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You are right, abstracts are pretty short. However they should give the reader a good idea of what the research article is about. It should tell you things like the subject, purpose, population, methodology, methods, and something about what has been found. I would think if you judge that against what should theoretically appear whether it adequately describes what is contained in the article.

Having said that I have only ever critiqued whole articles in the past, so other people might not agree.
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:17 PM
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I had to be dragged kicking and screaming through every minute of my nursing research class in college.

I have absolutely no advice to give you, sorry
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:44 PM
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I only got to like it when I was doing my masters and did some research of my own. I do know what you mean though Geena!!
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Old 09-17-2007, 06:47 PM
Jess
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Haha, I've heard a lot of awful things about Nursing Research from other students too. It's just quite a lot to take in at once because we have so many assignments to do! I will keep everyone updated about this course, hopefully I'll end up liking it!
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Old 09-17-2007, 07:48 PM
Marachne
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I'm really sorry to hear that you had a bad experience in your nursing research class, Geena.

[puts on nurse researcher hat, steps on soap box]
One of the things to keep in mind about nursing research is that we all need to be able to critique research (not just nursing research). Just because something is in a peer-reviewed journal doesn't mean it's good research. And unless you have an idea of the quality of the research you can't made educated decisions about what you may, or may not want to incorporate into your practice. [/steps off soapbox]

I think Julie summed up pretty well what a good critique should have in it. To flesh it out a little bit:

1) Population: this would include info about gender, age, ethnicity

2) Methodology: At least if it was quantitative or qualitative. If qual, it's nice if they give you an idea of what kind: (grounded theory, hermanutic, descriptive). If quantitative (which you will probably be looking at more than qual), then at least if it is descriptive, correlational, intervention, as well as cross-sectional or longitidinal. You'll often see some mention of the kinds of statistical analysis done (ANOVA, Chi-square, hierarchical regression, etc.)

3) Purpose. This should be pretty straight-forward -- why was the study conducted? It should also give at least one sentence of background/significance.

4) Conclusion. At least something about what they think it all means!

And, as was stated, it should reflect the reality of what is in the body of the paper (unlike abstracts submitted to conferences which are often done long before the analysis is complete, not to mention the presentation written -- not that I'd know anything about that, ahem).

Sometimes the abstract will very formally have headings such as Background, Methods, Results, and Conclusions. Sometimes it's all just jumbled together in a short paragraph. A lot depends on the journal.

Which brings up another point -- when you get good at critiquing the literature, you can become the most nit-picky person! It's important to remember that they may not included somethings in the manuscript because of the space or other requirements of the journal/editor.

Jess, weren't you given any formal criteria by which to critique this? It may be that as it is pass/fail the idea was to point out how little most people do get from an abstract and how much is possible! (in other words, I wouldn't sweat it too much).

Sorry for the lecture!
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:05 PM
Jess
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Thanks for your help Marachne! It is a pass/fail assignment so I'll see how it goes. I did a quick search to see if I can find any examples online but I can't seem to find any. Oh well.

I guess I'm just confused that I have to write up/critique something that is probably already very well written and informative. It's kind of like....critiquing a Harry Potter book or a really good book that's already pretty awesome.
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Old 09-17-2007, 08:17 PM
PixelRN
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I remember being very frustrated by my nursing research class, and it's a shame because when all is said and done, the research, itself is pretty interesting.

All I can say is hang in there, kiddo. Hopefully it will all start to click at some point.

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Old 09-17-2007, 11:59 PM
jojodow
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I think we did something similar in school. I'm not sure they called it that though.

I remember having to research Nursing articles from legitimate sources.

I did mine over Doctor-Nurse relationships.

My favorite article from that was one where they documented doing a study at some Med school somewhere (I think in AZ?) and the school was having their interns and Med Students work side by side with nurses for a certain amount of shifts.It was an actual credit course.....to actually see what Nurses actually do. I think some Docs still don't have a clue.

I thought it was genius! And all schools should do that!
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Old 09-18-2007, 12:15 AM
Jess
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Thank you for your responses everyone! I really appreciate it. If I have any questions about nursing research or research topics, I'll definitely tell you guys!

jojodow, that is an awesome research topic! There are many articles out there on doctor-nurse relationships and they are actually quite fun to read.
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