Nursing Research: How Data Collection Influences Statistics


How Data Collection Influences Statistics

Data collection influences statistics in several ways. First, data is collected according to a “category scheme,” which is the establishment of meaningful categories in which the data is collected and analyzed (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 508). If the category scheme is not well developed and meaningful, adequate data may not be effectively collected and examined to inform the nurse researcher about whatever topic he/she is investigating. Assuming good data collection, it allows the nurse researcher to define “themes” through common characteristics, variations and patterns shown by the collected and examined data (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 515). In addition, data collection allows the nurse researcher to validate and refine themes through the use of quasi-statistics. Quasi-statistics is the enumeration of how often specific themes or observations are supported by collected and examined data (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 517). If a specific theme or observation is supported by data, the nurse researcher can discard “null hypotheses.” A null hypothesis usually asserts a lack of effect or a lack of difference and is used by a researcher to test a hypothesis and possibly prove it to be false. A null hypothesis can never be proven false itself; it can only be used as a tool to prove or disprove a hypothesis by data examination (Purssell & While, Nov 2011, p. 838). Finally, the nurse researcher uses the collected and examined data, the developed themes, the null hypotheses and any other thematic patterns to form a synthesized image of whatever is being investigated (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 517).

Module 7: The Implications of Quantitative Design on Advanced Nursing Roles

Quantitative design includes a number of steps that ideally cover the entire data collection, examination and interpretation processes from pre-collection through the final examination and interpretation processes (Polit & Beck, 2008, p. 642). The steps are supposed to be consistent and precise so the data can be effectively collected, examined and interpreted according to the precise issues being addressed by research. People in advanced nursing roles use data collection, examination and interpretation to better understand situations ranging from very simple questions to very complex relationships. Consequently, thoughtful and thorough quantitative design assists the advanced nurse in accurately and effectively collecting, examining and interpreting the data to improve quality of research, quality of patient care and patient safety. For example, the journal item Breast cancer; Research from M. Montgomery and co-authors provides new data about breast cancer pointedly speaks of how certain inclusion criteria were used by quantitative design to include data collected from 30 studies about distress associated with diagnosed breast cancer and that distress’ influence on treatment outcomes (Anonymous, 2011). The careful quantitative design, including study choice, data collection, data examination and interpretation provided valuable information about the effects of stress, usually manifested as anxiety (Anonymous, 2011, p. 2524). Nurse practitioners in Oncology can benefit from this study because the carefully collected, examined and interpreted data will give them greater understanding and deal with their breast cancer patients’ distress issues and effects.

Module 8: One Clinical Use of Research Results in Advanced Nursing Roles of Practitioner, Educator, or Administrator

Are older patients comfortable discussing sexual health with nurses? (Farrell & Belza, Jan-Feb 2012) provides research results that can be used by a nurse practitioner, educator and administrator. The study was designed to determine barriers to discussing sexual health with older patients and whether older patients: have questions about their sexual health that have not been answered; are asked about their sexual health; want a health care provider to ask about their sexual health; would feel comfortable discussing the issues with a nurse. The quantitative design of the study was reportedly a quantitative cross-section using a 24-item survey distributed to older adults who reside in retirement communities and/or took fitness classes in the geographical area of Puget Sound, Washington. With 101 completed surveys, the researchers collected, examined, interpreted and reported the results. Two of several conclusions reached by the study were: nurse practitioners often simply do not ask about their older patients’ sexual health; some older patients are uncomfortable discussing their sexual health (Farrell & Belza, Jan-Feb 2012, pp. 54-55). A nurse practitioner can clinically use these results to better understand how older patients feel about the issues, how this practitioner has perhaps been remiss in asking his/her older patients about their sexual health, and develop a method for broaching the topic in ways more comfortable for the older patients. An educator can use the study results to inform and teach his/her students about older patients’ sexual health issues, about caregivers’ tendency to overlook/avoid asking older patients about their sexual health, and about developing methods for his/her students’ handling of these issues. An administrator can use the study results by understanding the gap in treatment and developing procedures for nursing staff to broach the topic of sexual health with older patients in ways that are more comfortable for older patients.

Works Cited

Anonymous. (2011, March 14). Breast cancer; Research from M. Montgomery and co-authors provides new data about breast cancer. Health & Medicine Week, p. 2524.

Farrell, J., & Belza, B. (Jan-Feb 2012). Are older patients comfortable discussing sexual health with nurses? Nursing Research, 61(1), 51-57.

Polit, D.F., & Beck, C.T. (2008). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (8th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott, Williams & Wilkins.

Purssell, E., & While, A. (Nov 2011). P = nothing, or why we should not teach healthcare students about statistics. Nurse Education Today, 31(8), 837-840.

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