Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.
Castleton Third Party Header

NUR 2510: Evidence-Based Nursing Informatics

Evidence-based practice (EBP) combines research-based information, clinical expertise, and patients' values and preferences when providing care. This involves five steps:

  1. Assess the patient or problem;
  2. Ask a clinical question;
  3. Acquire resources;
  4. Appraise the literature;
  5. Apply your findings.

This guide will help you learn how to acquire and appraise research so that you can provide the best care to your patients.

Types of Research

Research studies can be broken down into two broad categories: primary research (or unfiltered information) and secondary research (or filtered information.

Primary Research refers to original studies. They can be

  • Observational
  • Experimental
  • Qualitative
  • Quantitative

Secondary Research combines many primary research studies to look for patterns. Because of that, secondary research provides stronger evidence than primary research does. This category can include

  • Meta-analyses
  • Systematic reviews
  • Editorials

Meta-analyses and systematic reviews combine the results of many studies in order to look for larger patterns. Because of that, they are more generalizable than single studies are. That makes them the best evidence you can use in EBP! The pyramid below shows the hierarchy of evidence, with meta-analyses at the top as the strongest evidence and background information at the bottom as the weakest. 

Hierarchy of evidence, beginning with strongest: Meta-analyses, systematic reviews, critically appraised topics, critically appraised individual articles, Randomized Controlled Trials, Cohort Studies, Case Studies and Series, and finally Background Information / Expert Opinion

Singh, Arun P. What is hierarchy of evidence? Bone and Spine.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative research collects and analyzes numerical data to learn about relationships between variables. Look for words like Compare, Assess, Evaluate, Measure, and Test.

Types of Quantitative Research

  • Experimental - Researcher controls independent variable and randomly assigns participants to conditions (e.g., RCTs)
  • Quasi-experimental - Researcher controls independent variable but participants are not randomized
  • Correlational - Relationship between variables with no intervention from the researcher
  • Descriptive - Describes the characteristics of phenomena that exist 
  • Meta-analysis

Sample Article

Herke, M., Fink, A., Langer, G., Wustmann, T., Watzke, S., Hanff, A. M., & Burckhardt, M. (2018). Environmental and behavioural modifications for improving food and fluid intake in people with dementia. The Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews7(7), CD011542.

Learn More

Ingham-Broomfield, R. (2014). A nurses’ guide to quantitative research. Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing, 32(2): 32-38.

Qualitative Research

The data collected from qualitative research is more descriptive of people's beliefs, attitudes, etc. and is gathered through methods such as interviews and focus groups. The data collected is often narrative. Look for words like Identify, Explore, Describe, and Explain.

Types of Quantitative Research

  • Case study
  • Historical analysis
  • Ethnography
  • Phenomenology
  • Grounded theory

Sample Article

Dahl, B., Heinonen, K., & Bondas, T. E. (2020). From Midwife-Dominated to Midwifery-Led Antenatal Care: A Meta-Ethnography. International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health17(23), 8946.

Learn more
Chicca, J. (2020, June 5). Introduction to qualitative nursing research. American Nurse.

More nursing resources