Data Collection and Measurement
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American Nurses Association. (2014). Fast facts: The nursing workforce 2014: Growth, salaries, education, demographics & trends. ANA. Retrieved from http://nursingworld.org/MainMenuCategories/ThePracticeofProfessionalNursing/workforce/Fast-Facts-2014-Nursing-Workforce.pdf (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.
Review these facts, and describe what the results say about this sample of the nursing workforce. What do you believe was the intent of the researcher who designed the survey?
The next process for our study is to collect data. The research design will indicate the best data to be collected. The tools that we use to collect data need to be reliable and valid. Define these terms with respect to research, and explain why they are important.
Consider data collection and measurement methods for your nursing clinical issue. Explain how you would collect data and what measurement methods you would use.
When you read research publications, pay special attention to instruments used for data collection. Were the instruments developed specifically for the study or did another investigator use them previously? Regardless of the instrument being new or previously used, try to identify how did investigators ensure reliability of the instrument. Did the authors mention about conducting special testing of the instrument? Also, if primary investigator wanted to have a study assistant to help with data collection, how would he/she ensure another person is just as reliable in using the same instrument?
Here is something to think about: an investigator identifies an instrument that has a very specific timeline for assessment (in the last 2 weeks). The original instrument was designed to assess patients’ psychological and pain status in the last 2 weeks; however, in the current study the investigator wants to evaluate responses to a therapy within 24 hours. The investigator proposes to use the same instrument, but decides to modify the timeline to read “in the last 24 hours.”
In this particular case, the reliability and validity of the instrument will be significantly compromised, because the instrument was designed to assess patients’ responses looking back in the last 2 weeks. Even the questions were worded specifically to evaluate a significantly longer timeline.
In clinical practice, you might find different instruments and scales available for assessments of pressure ulcers, fall risk, pain, nausea, and sedation. Does every organization use the same scales? Does every nurse use the same scales?
In research, it is very important that study team members are using the same instrument. Furthermore, some training might be necessary to ensure inter-rater reliability (Houser, 2018). Individual nurses might have their own preferences and interpretations of scales; therefore, it is very important for investigators to perform calculations to ensure stability of measurements across study team members (Burns, 2014).
Development of a survey study requires a systematic and step-wise approach to ensure validity and reliability of the instrument that will be used to collect data. The quality of collected data will ultimately determine the quality of the results (Houser, 2018). Many of you may have heard a very familiar phrase, “garbage –in garbage-out,” meaning your outcomes and results depend on the data or information collected (Chamberlain College of Nursing, 2017). As you complete this week’s lesson and reading, you should be able to identify the methodology employed by this researcher. Pay special attention to differentiate between primary and secondary data
Burns, M. (2014). How to establish interrater reliability. Nursing 2016, 44(10), 56-58. doi: 10.1097/01.NURSE.0000453705.41413.c6
Chamberlain College of Nursing. (2017). NR-439 Week 5: Implementing the study, data collection methods [Online Lesson]. Downers Grove, IL: DeVry Education Group.
Houser, J. (2018). Nursing research: Reading, using, and creating evidence (4th ed.) Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.
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