*Book Review* Research and Evidence-Based Practice

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DISCLAIMER: This book was gifted to me to review. I have previously reviewed another book from the same publishers, which you can see here.

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I was excited to read and review this textbook as I have a big interest in research and love to be able to recommend textbooks to other students taking a research module. The book itself is intended to be a lead-in to research, and is part of a new series of books called Essentials.

The book has two sections, part one discusses research and how to understand it. Part two talks about evidence-based practice and why it is essential to healthcare today.

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In part one, the chapters include identifying a research aim, how to design a study, data collection and data analysis. These things should all feature heavily in any research assignment and this book explains them in a way that is easy to read and understand. Common research terminology is highlighted in bold, which corresponds with a glossary at the back of the book. The definitions are clear and concise, providing enough information for the reader to be able to understand and apply the terminology to relevant areas within their assignments.

In part two, the chapters include how to review evidence and then apply this to practice. The book ends with a chapter where the authors attempt to make their own predictions about the future of health and social care, I found this chapter really interesting and thought-provoking. It is also a chapter that you could use for some critical analysis within your assignments.

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I would definitely recommend this book to any student starting a research module or even to refresh your memories ready for your dissertations/literature reviews. The content included is everything I would want to know as a student starting a research module. The glossary at the back is great for understanding the research terminology, which can often feel like a brand new language when you first start reading research papers. There are also handy references which you can use to do further reading and enhance your critical discussion within your assignments.

The book lives up to its intention to act as a lead-in to the research topic and has a clear and concise style throughout, whilst explaining things in the amount of detail needed to fully understand them. A must read for any nursing or health and social care student!

Love,

T x

 

How to survive your research module

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These are tips complied from my own experience of a research module, some may be more specific to the module I completed than a generic research module but I hope you find them useful!

Don’t panic – research modules are often seen as big scary modules that consume your life. Utilise the class resources and your lecturers. If you find yourself struggling – ask for help, read more resources, speak to someone who has completed the module before or someone in your cohort who may be able to help and take a deep breath. You can do this module and pass the assignment!

Start early – you will need to do lots of wider reading to fully understand the terminology used and this can be time-consuming. Start early and gather references for key points before you start writing. Make a plan so you know what you want to include in each section, this will help you to find relevant supporting evidence.

Understand the terminology – research terminology can often seem like a brand new language, which it is if you have never done a research module before or fully read research papers. Spend some time learning the terminology before you start writing your assignment, and see how the terminology features in and applies to your chosen papers.

Read through your chosen papers a few times – highlight terminology where it’s used and try to understand the flow of a research paper. Use the abstract on the front to gain understanding of the key areas within the paper and read the background/literature review included to understand the aim of the paper.

Write in sections – this can help you to focus and keep the information relevant. Break your papers down into method, data collection, data analysis and results. This can help you to pick out relevant pieces of information and enables you to focus your search for references. These key areas are usually included concisely within the abstract.

Strengths and limitations – the good thing about research is that there are strengths and limitations available for every aspect of the research methods. This enables you to get good critical analysis into the assignment, you can build arguments for every section of the research paper.

Application to practice – some research papers will include this in detail, if yours doesn’t look at other similar research papers to see how they would apply their findings to practice. Link back to current guidelines such as NICE to show you have an understanding of how research can be used to develop guidelines and influence nursing practice.

Hierarchy of evidence pyramid – look at how the different research methods feature at different points of the pyramid. This may be worth discussing and gives you an understanding of why some research methods are preferred to others.

Don’t worry if it’s not your thing – we all have our own little niches, research happens to be one of mine but if you don’t enjoy it, it just means it isn’t your area but something else will be! The world would be a boring place if we all enjoyed the same things. Try to understand the module the best you can and use this module to improve your research understanding, this will help you with your dissertation/literature review even if you don’t love the research module itself!

Love,

T x

 

 

Assignment planning

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Here are the tips that have helped me gain a first (70%+) in each of my first year assignments 😊

  • As soon as the assignment is set, write the deadline in your diary. I always write in a reminder a month before the due date as well.
  • Print the assignment brief/crib sheet off and read through the learning outcomes to ensure you know what the assignment is wanting. Also print out the marking guidance to check your final assignment against.
  • Soon after the assignment is set, sit down and make a plan of when you would like to have sections completed by.
  • If you have no idea how to make a plan for yourself, Kent University have a resource called ASK : Assignment Survival Kit. You input your start date and deadline date, it generates a plan for you with dates on to have different sections completed by.
  • Begin by finding relevant sources of information that you may use within your assignment, create a reference list with these on as you find them. It’s much easier to compile your reference list as you go along, instead of leaving it until the end.
  • Try to find references from a range of sources. Use reputable internet sites, journal articles and textbooks to give you a wide selection of resources. This also shows that you have taken the time to read around your subject instead of just using what a google search brings up.
  • There is no limit on the amount of references, I aim to have at least one every 100 words.
  • Print internet resources out so that you can highlight key points that you would like to paraphrase, this saves time returning to the website constantly. I write the reference on a sticky note and attach to the printed out resource.
  • Write your assignment in note form. Use headers such as ‘Intro’, ‘paragraph 1’ etc and just bullet point what you think you will include in these sections.
  • Write a draft and then leave it a few weeks before you look at it again. This helps to look at the assignment with ‘fresh eyes’ and spot any errors or information that is missing.
  • I write my introduction first, others write the introduction once they have wrote the main body of the assignment. Either way is fine, whichever works for you!
  • Aim to have the assignment finished around a month before the deadline, this allows time to edit and check all the references a couple of times before it is due.
  • Before submitting, check your reference list matches your in-text references. I also check that any internet links are correct and link to the correct websites.
  • CEB3DD45-5B50-42C6-813C-D3FF225DFC19This option on word will alphabetise your reference list if you highlight the full list and click it.
  • If you are going to buy one book for university, make it the Cite Them Right book. It has many different referencing styles in and I find it better to use than the website.
  • About 2 weeks before the deadline, I’ll submit my assignment into turnitin, minus my reference list, so I can see the similarity score and change anything that needs changing. I will then submit with my reference list attached.
  • Around 2 days before deadline, I will read my assignment for the last time. I will make any last minute changes and then submit for the final time.
  • If you have a couple of assignments due around the same time, try to complete one in at least draft form before you start another one. Some people can have a few assignments on the go at once, but I like to complete one in draft form before I start on another.
  • Try to complete as much as you can whilst you’re on theory time at uni, as the last thing you want to do after a placement shift is work on assignments.
  • Read your assignment out loud as this helps to pick up on any grammatical errors. Choose someone else to proofread it if you can (not the best idea to choose someone in your cohort however much you trust them!).
  • An hour a day is better than nothing!

If you’re a last minute person, you may not feel these tips are useful for you. What I would say is even if you only gather your sources of information so you have a draft reference list, this will save you time whilst you’re writing your assignment. You may find that you need more but at least you’ll have a selection ready to be used.

Let me know if you have any other useful tips!

Love,

T x