Nursing/Medical Research Assignment

Posted: December 19th, 2022

Nursing/Medical Research Assignment

When describing the importance of evidence for nursing practice, we must understand how to analyze the results of research studies.  We must determine statistical significance by using descriptive and inferential statistics.  And we must determine clinical significance by evaluating the effect of the intervention on patient outcomes.

This week’s discussion will address the second CO: Apply research principles to the interpretation of the content of published research studies.  Or…how clinical and statistical significance must be considered when we are deciding which evidence is valid for guiding nursing practice. Nursing/Medical Research Assignment

In your posts, please:

  1. Discuss one of the four basic rules for understanding results in a research study.
  2. Compare clinical significance and statistical significance. Which one is more meaningful when considering applying evidence to your practice?
  3. Compare descriptive statistics and inferential statistics in research. Please give an example of each type that could be collected in a study that would be done on your nursing clinical issue you identified in previous weeks.

***The nursing clinical issue that I am working on is:

In adult psychiatric patients age 18 years and older, does introduction of individualized medication education with Shared Decision Making (SDM), compared to standard patient education alone, increase compliance with the medication regime.


Understanding the results in any nursing research study is an important step. That is because getting it right would present verifiable evidence that can be used to support evidence based practice. One of the most important rules for understanding results in any study is to correctly identify the variables involved in the study. In this case, the specific variables of interest should be the independent and dependent variables since extraneous variables were controlled when conducting the study.  Nursing/Medical Research Assignment The variables should be considered as a measurement that can be controlled and varies based on environmental changes (Houser, 2018). For instance, looking at a study titled: “In adult psychiatric patients age 18 years and older, does introduction of individualized medication education with Shared Decision Making (SDM), compared to standard patient education alone, increase compliance with the medication regime”. The variables of interest in the study are age, types of medication education, and compliance with medication regime. The three variables are measurable and can vary from one patient to another. Further review of the variables shows that age and types of medication education are the independent variables while compliance with medication regime is the dependent variable. The two variables present a cause-and-effect relationship whereby the independent variables are the cause while the dependent variable is the presumed effect. To be more precise, types of medication education (dependent variable) has an effect on compliance with medication regime (independent variable) with age (dependent variable) having a moderating effect on how much information the patients can take in from the education. Even as the study focuses on improving the effect (compliance with medication regime), it ends up watch for how the effect is influenced by introduction of the cause (Houser, 2018). As a result, clearly defining the variables is an important step for understanding results in a research study.

  1. Clinical and statistical significance are of critical important to nursing practice. The two terms are concerned with interpreting and understanding the value of the results in terms of how the collected data links to the initial research question and how it would influence nursing practice. However, it is important to note that the two terms differ with regards to ethics. Statistical significance objectively evaluates empirical data with the intention of estimating whole population effects while considering benefits and harm probabilities. It is used to test the null hypothesis and is presented as p-value. Although statistical significance correlates empirical results from a sample of the population to the whole population, it is used with caution in nursing practice since it deals with approximations through extrapolating results. Statistical significance simply uses mathematics to make a translation based on a sample of the population, and this could be erroneous since an approximation is not really the truth. To be more precise, statistical significance relies on an illogical assumption that the treatment effects on a population will be zero until disapproved through the hypothesis test. Nursing practice addresses this caution through the use of clinical significance that introduces ethics that acknowledge the existence of uncertainties when presenting results. Clinical significance does this through using terms such as ‘almost certain’, ‘very likely’, ‘likely’, and ‘possible’ to acknowledge the errors from clinical significance that must not be ignored. When considering applying evidence to clinical practice, clinical significance is more useful than statistical significance since it acknowledges that confidence has a limit when sample values are used to estimate population values (Houser, 2018; Rubin, 2013). Nursing/Medical Research Assignment
  1. Descriptive statistics is concerned with evaluating the sample that was collected in a study in terms of its characteristics as described through the independent and dependent variables. For instance, if 40% of the sample population complies with the medication regime before intervention while 90% complies after the intervention that the descriptive statistics would should that the intervention increases compliance in 50% of the population. Inferential statistics makes use of the descriptive statistics to make predictions for the whole population that includes persons not recruited in the study. For instance, if the descriptive statistics shows that intervention increases compliance by 50%, then inferential statistics would contend that for a population with similar demographic qualities (such as age, gender and level education), compliance would similarly be increased by 50% if the whole population is subjected to the intervention (Houser, 2018). In this respect, descriptive statistics focuses on the population sample recruited in the study while descriptive statistics makes predictions and inferences for the whole population of interest based on the descriptive statistics presented for the sample.


Houser, J. (2018) Nursing research: reading, using, and creating evidence (4th ed.). Sudbury, MA: Jones and Bartlett.

Rubin, A. (2013). Statistics for Evidence-Based Practice and Evaluation (3rd ed.). Belmont, CA: Brooks/Cole. Nursing/Medical Research Assignment

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