by Molly Fitzke, EdD, MSN, RN, Nebraska Wesleyan University

This web quest provides an introduction to the research problem and purpose, questions, and hypothesis that are used to direct nursing studies. A research problem is considered a situation directed to create or enhance knowledge, develop solutions, or vast improvement for the practice setting. The research problem may point out a difference between the traditional method and the new finding (the why). A research purpose is clearly written to inform the readers of the intent of study(the what). Research questions guide the study and are interrogative statements that are addressed to answer the main problem. A hypothesis is a predicted statement of two or more variables. Can be analyzed statistically for significance.



Nursing Research!

Nursing research is essential for all nurses to understand and to practice evidence based nursing in their practice setting. Research is a systematic process. One of the first steps in research is identifying a topic. Think about this...your on a busy medical-surgical floor, as charge nurse you have been given another admit. This admit has increased your nurses (already short-staff) workload. Short staffing has been a consistent problem to your floor. Mistakes have been avoided and made. Would this be a topic for you to refine and develop into a research problem and purpose? First what is a research problem?

A research problem in nursing is considered a professional situation in need of improvement, change, or a solution.  Polit & Beck (2012) ascertain that both qualitative and quantitative researchers identify research problems by gathering pertinent information on the area of interest. Houser (2012) supports the traditional methods for accumulating relevant information suggests a deductive process (sequential from general-to-specific) or inductive process (specific observation-to-general focus). The research problem statement is considered to be the "why" (Houser, 2012).

The research purpose is the aim of a study. What's the goal or intent of the study? The purpose statement also investigates how variables (qualities, properties, characteristics) are studied in a setting and population (Houser, 2012). Polit & Beck (2012) simply supports that a problem statement represents and indicates a situation to be studied by building on an a case.

 Research questions are specific questions that the researcher wants to know about the intent of study. Polit & Beck (2012) report that the research questions direct the data to be collected for the study. An essential to writing a clear, specific question can be described by the acronym PICO (population, intervention, comparison, and outcome). Typically research questions are developed in a present tense and tend to be interrogative in nature.

 What is a Hypothesis? Yes, your right when you say, "a guess". However, let's expound upon and define it further; A hypothesis is a statement that make a specific prediction between one or two variables in a population, then tested.



 Web Quest Objectives