Factors That Must Be Assessed When Critically Appraising Quantitative Studies

It is important that nurses employ the latest practices when caring for patients as this improves outcomes across patients in the health care setting (Bronson & Davis, 2011). However, a practice nurse must possess the capability to do research on the available clinical evidence and critically examine their quality. Essentially, there are two major research strategies; the qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative research design employs research reviews and descriptive statistic in its data analysis. However, the quantitative research design employs random sampling of subjects, which should be representative, and uses statistical tools in data presentation and analysis. Therefore, a nurse practitioner must be conversant with the structures and elements that constitute a solid quantitative research journal.

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Factors to Consider When Appraising Quantitative Research Studies

Validity and Reliability

            It is important that the foundation of nursing care be based on sound research and this demands that the nurse practitioner assesses such factors as credibility, reliability, applicability, and validity of any published quantitative study. The research validity and reliability centers more on the methodology employed in a research study. It is imperative that any research instruments measures the concept under study in a consistent and unwavering manner.

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All these aspects of a research instrument are determined through its validity and reliability. According to (Coughlan, Cronin, & Ryan, 2007), the validity of a research instruments is the measure of its ability to measure the intended research concept. The research reliability is ability of the employed instrument to measure the intended concept in a consistent and accurate manner. Most researches adopt or modify “off the shelf” research instruments. However, in order to assess the reliability and validity, a pilot study can be carried out, which should not involve the intended study subjects.


            The purpose of clinical research is to answer a particular focused clinical question. Moreover, the study results must be appropriate and easily generalized. Research applicability refers to the degree of appropriateness of the study findings in particular patient situations. According to (Atkins et al., 2011), a number of checklists have been developed in order to determine the applicability of a research, since it is context dependent. The variability in applicability is due to the variation in the clinical area and the intervention that a research studied.

Research Validity

   Among the numerous elements of a quantitative study, the most important one is the research validity. The research validity precedes the applicability of the research findings. When the research study is valid, then the research will be reliable and applicable.

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