Box 9.1 Guidelines for Critiquing Research Designs in Quantitative Studies
1. Type of Question: Causes and Effects (i.e. How will the introduction of eMAR affect the current nursing workflow?). Yes, the research question concerns a possible relationship between the independent variable (presumed cause=eMAR), and the dependent variable (presumed effect=nursing workflow).
2. The strongest design for the research question: Descriptive Research. The study design was derived from time-motion studies which are descriptive observational studies performed at another institution.
3. No, there were no intervention or treatment. Data was obtained based on strict observation and no direct contact towards patients or nurses were made.
4. Although participants were selected at random, the study was not a randomized-control trial. The researchers only observed and the independent variable was not manipulated in any way or form.
5. The design is not quasi-experimental. It was a non-experimental research study.
6. Yes, the design used is a descriptive study strictly based on actual observations. The specific design is based on time-motion studies (Descriptive Research). From all the individuals (all RNs, from the same institution) who volunteered to participate, one nurse was selected at random.
7. The type of comparisons made on this study looks at the administration activities performed by nurses to characterize the activities involved with medication administration. Data compared included the average time spent on medication administration (26.9%) and time spent on non-medication related activities (73.1%). The relationship between the observed independent variable (medication administration) and the dependent variable (nurse workflow) were adequately represented for the purpose of the study.
8. No, the research is not longitudinal. The timing of data collection over a 6 month period was appropriate to capture “real-time” observations. The number of data collected was mentioned by researchers to be one of the limitations to the study because it was performed at only one institution.
9. No, there were no blinding or masking used. The researchers claimed that the burden of recording is placed on the observer, and were confident that they will be capturing accurate data on the time spent by the subject. Although no interventions were provided, there could have been alteration in the outcome due to knowing that they are being observed. Individuals fearing a computerized MAR might extended the time needed to perform a specific task which might skew data towards a more favorable time.