Why Is Research Important in Nursing?

Research is essential for the advancement of any profession. Healthcare is no different, and research in nursing could revolutionize it. The use of evidence-based practice by nurses ensures better standards of care.

Nursing is a career that requires strong research skills. Why? Patients and caregivers rely on nurses for information so they can make informed decisions about their health care.

Research helps to shape the nursing profession as it evolves with the needs of society and advances in medical science, assisting nurses in providing effective, evidence-based care.

Research is also essential because it is a crucial predictor of nurse retention rates, which is necessary for ensuring access to high-quality nursing care over time.

Why Does Research Matter in Nursing Programs?

The research process is an integral component of the nursing profession. Nurses work together with other healthcare professionals to provide quality care for patients and their families.

Research can be defined as “the systematic investigation into a particular subject or field of knowledge, typically using methods that are empirical or scientific.”

It isn’t easy to think of a time when nurses didn’t use research in their practice. Before hospitals became more specialized, many nurses would have been responsible for carrying out clinical laboratory tests on patient samples themselves.

Today, nurses still rely heavily on the findings from research studies to improve patient outcomes and reduce risk factors associated with illness.

They review these studies at conferences and in journals they subscribe to through professional organizations such as The Organization of Nurse Executives (ONE) and The American Association of Colleges for Nursing.

Nurses still rely heavily on the findings from research studies to improve patient outcomes and reduce risk factors associated with illness.

Nurses are also responsible for informing patients about new developments in their field by keeping up with current trends over time to make informed decisions when treating themselves or asking others for care advice.

Communicating this information is essential because it creates a better understanding between healthcare providers and those who use their services.

Information Literacy and Nursing

Literacy is not the same as information literacy. Literacy is an essential skill, and information literacy can access, evaluate and use this knowledge for personal decision making or in collaboration with others to solve problems. 

Information literacy is a life-long learning process and will be required to work with new technologies in the future.

Information literacy should not just be taught for its own sake, but because of what it offers learners when they can search effectively for information from multiple sources on their topic, evaluate this literature according to accepted standards, synthesize findings into coherent arguments or summaries that advance understanding about an issue, develop logical explanations or solutions based on evidence found through online searches and library databases as well as other resources.

Evidence-Based Practice

Consider these four factors when evaluating published research:

Validity: Is the study valid, reliable, and accurate? A study’s validity is an essential factor to consider. A significant percentage of published studies are not good, and some even have sufficient evidence that they’re false.

For example, in 1974, psychologists asked participants about their sexual orientation; this was when homosexuality was still illegal in many states. The researchers found that self-reported gay men were much more likely than heterosexual males to report having sex with over 100 women, a number far higher than any other group surveyed written for themselves or others (Bancroft).

Reliability: Is the result of the measurement consistent? Nursing is an occupation that requires ongoing education. Research informs the decisions made in nursing, and therefore it’s important to have access to research findings. The process of gathering information from various sources provides more diverse knowledge than found if only one source were used exclusively.

Relevance: Are there logical connections between two events, concepts, or tasks? To find this out, you might look up the topic in a research database.

It also helps define which new areas of study deserve attention. Researchers often use data from extensive studies that gather information on many people over long periods (called cohort studies) or smaller group-based tests designed to assess a person’s response to something like a drug (called case-control studies).

Outcome: What were the researchers’ conclusions? The result of every research is not exact because the researchers have different goals for the study. 

The research outcomes are also affected by how well a researcher understands and applies design principles to test their hypotheses, define problems in advance, and collect data efficiently with appropriate methods that control for unwanted variability from external sources like confounding variables.

There are many advantages when doing this, such as avoiding duplicate work, which would increase costs without providing any additional benefits (eHealth Literacy).

Types of Research

The research used in evidence-based practice and practice guidelines is research that has been conducted and analyzed by experts in the field of nursing. Nurses work in clinical research as well as participate in collaborative interdisciplinary studies with other healthcare professionals.

Types of Research are following:

Quantitative research: Data is interpreted with the help of numbers, percentages, and variables.

Qualitative research: The results are based on thoughts, perceptions, and experiences.

Three Types of Quantitative Research:

  • The descriptive type of research describes an individual, situation, or group of individuals or their characteristics. Based on observed traits, this kind of research searches for conclusions and connections that can be made.
  • The purpose of quasi-experimental research is to determine the cause-and-effect relationships between variables.
  • Correlational research examines the relationships between variables but does not reveal a cause-and-effect relationship.

Five Types of Qualitative Research:

  • In ethnography, customs and practices are observed or analyzed to learn how particular cultures understand disease and health.
  • In grounded theory, theories are built in response to questions, problems,  and observations.
  • Interpretations, reactions, and paradigms of interaction, communication, and symbolism are studied in symbolic interactionism. Over time, these factors can affect how people change their health practices.
  • Historical research examines topics, cultures, or groups in the past systematically.
  • Phenomenology is based on the author’s personal experiences and insights.

Role of Nursing Research in Online Programs

Nurses interested in online health care degrees may find the research aspect is what interests them.

Research has been a significant player in nursing practices for many years now. It continues to be important as discoveries are made about human beings on every level of analysis.

Research also plays an essential role when developing programs that will help people heal more quickly or prevent injury before it happens.

There is no shortage of information available for nurses who want to learn more about their career path into either education or administration through online classes at most universities with nursing programs today.


For nurses to improve their practice, stay current, and offer better care to patients, they need to conduct research.  Nurses who possess information literacy skills can use the information to develop their conclusions more effectively. Nurses need to practice evidence-based practice. 

Nurses should be able to understand, evaluate and use research in their careers. These skills are taught in nursing schools to help nurses advance in their careers.

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