Teaching critical appraisal skills for nursing research
Background Evidence-based practice is a major focus in nursing, yet the literature continues to document a research-practice gap. Reasons for this gap stem partly from a lack of skills to critique and synthesize the literature, a lack of search skills and difficulty in understanding research articles, and limited knowledge of research by nursing professionals. Method An innovative and quality driven subject to improve critical appraisal and critical thinking skills was developed for the School of Nursing, Midwifery and Indigenous Health at the University of Wollongong, based on formative research with postgraduate students and supervisors. Through face-to-face and online teaching modules students worked through a structured process of analysing the key aspects of published papers using structured analysis tools for each study design. Results Pre and post surveys of students found improvements in perceived knowledge of all key skills of critical appraisal. External independent evaluation determined that it was a high quality subject showing many hallmarks of good assessment practice and good practice in use of information and communication technology (ICT) in support of the learning outcomes.
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