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Weighing the Evidence

When conducting original research, the final step researchers must complete is weighing the evidence and interpreting the meanings of their data, statistics, and analyses. This is the culmination of the research process in which all of the research methods and designs can be synthesized into a meaningful conclusion. In this stage, researchers should formulate explanations for what their data indicates, determine whether the data answers their initial research question, identify areas of uncertainty, and consider directions for further research.

In this Discussion, you focus on one of the research articles that you identified for Part 2 of the Course Project (Literature Review). You then explore the process of how the researchers generated conclusions based on their data, consider other possible interpretations of their data, and formulate ideas for further research.

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To prepare:

  • Review this week’s Learning Resources, focusing on how researchers find meaning in their data and generate sound conclusions. Pay particular attention to Table 2 in the article, “Study Design in Medical Research.”
  • Revisit the 5 articles that you identified in Part 2 of the Course Project. Select one to consider for the purpose of this Discussion.
  • Read sections of the chosen article where the data is presented, analyzed, and interpreted for meaning. What reasoning process did the researchers use to formulate their conclusions? What explanation did they give to support their conclusions? Were there any weaknesses in their analysis or conclusions?
  • Consider possible alternate conclusions that the researchers could have drawn based on their data.
  • Examine the findings that the article presents and consider how well they addressed the researcher’s initial question(s). What additional research could be done to build on these findings and gain a fuller understanding of the question?

By Day 3

Post an APA citation and brief summary of the research article that you selected. Describe the data and the results of any statistical tests or analyses presented in the article. Explain how the researchers formulated their conclusion, any weaknesses in their analysis or conclusions, and offer at least one alternate interpretation of their data. Propose at least one additional research study that could be done to further investigate this research topic.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.

  • Chapter 21, “Qualitative Research Design and Approaches” This chapter introduces qualitative research designs. It provides an overview of the different types of qualitative research and then describes each one in greater detail, outlining how and when they should be used.

Houghton, C. E., Casey, D., Shaw, D., & Murphy, K. (2010). Ethical challenges in qualitative research: Examples from practice. Nurse Researcher, 18(1), 15–25.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article explores ethical challenges associated with qualitative research. Specifically, the authors examine the challenges of informed consent procedures, the researcher-participant relationship, risk-benefit ratio, confidentiality, and the dual role of the nurse-researcher.

Pringle, J., Hendry, C., & McLafferty, E. (2011). Phenomenological approaches: Challenges and choices. Nurse Researcher, 18(2), 7–18.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article examines the dilemmas faced by a researcher looking for appropriate methods and approaches for investigating the experiences of stroke survivors. In addition, this article reviews the challenges of using phenomenology as a research method.

Ryan-Nicholls, K. D., & Will, C. I. (2009). Rigour in qualitative research: Mechanisms for control. Nurse Researcher, 16(3), 70–85.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

The authors of this article provide recommendations for improving the control mechanisms of methodological rigor in qualitative research methods. The text establishes the basis of criticism on the rigor of qualitative work, ways of demonstrating methodological rigor, and the definition of rigor.

Smith, J., Bekker, H., & Cheater, F. (2011). Theoretical versus pragmatic design in qualitative research. Nurse Researcher, 18(2), 39–51.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article assesses the benefits of using a generic qualitative approach to design studies for understanding user and caregiver perspectives. The authors assess these benefits in the context of a qualitative study that focused on parents’ experience of living with children with hydrocephalus.

Walker, W. (2011). Hermeneutic inquiry: Insights into the process of interviewing. Nurse Researcher, 18(2), 19–27.

Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.

This article examines the process of interviewing from a research perspective. The authors supply personal and theoretical insights into using the research interview, along with a guide to the practicalities of interviewing.