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Getting Started and Asking a Question

Started and Asking a QuestionSome reasons you develop research projects:

  1. Finding evidence for your beliefs
  2. Offer support for evidence-based teaching and learning
  3. Disseminate findings to support nursing education locally, nationally, and internationally.

Questions about our teaching can be more than questions about if a strategy was effective in teaching students. Measuring student learning, not just student satisfaction, is essential in nursing education research. Ciccone (2018) offered a learning taxonomy to help us think more broadly about student learning.

Below is Ciccone's (2018) learning taxonomy: 
Ciccone (2018). Learning matters: Asking meaningful questions. In N.L Chick (Ed.) SoTL in action: Illuminating critical moments of practice. (First edition, p. 15-22) Stylus Publishing.

Using this taxonomy, we can select from multiple types of learning. Below is an example list to help you develop the learning question you want to study.

Measure the changes in students' (Assessing what students have learned)

  1. Knowledge (A&P, ethics, SDOH, med-surg, care of babies and children—your content area)
  2. Nursing Skills
  3. Critical thinking
  4. Clinical Judgement
  5. Communication skills
  6. Nursing Competency
  7. Leadership/ Professional identity

Measure changes in how learning occurred (Assessing models and methods used to teach)

  1. Knowledge (Do taped lectures make a difference? Does the clinical judgment model improve student clinical judgment, which de-brief strategy works best with students.)
  2. Skills and abilities (In skills lab, which of two performance rubrics is best for reliable assessment of students taking blood pressure? Is SBAR an effective model?)
  3. Critical Thinking (Does the Socratic Method support student learning in clinical conferences?  If students read rubrics and understand the clinical judgment items assessed, do their assessment scores improve?

Measure changes in learners' thinking about how learning (assessing metacognitive skills)

  1.  Does a student remediation activity (e.g., writing a reflection on mistakes they made in skills lab) reduce mistakes in skill performance?
  2.  Does students thinking about how they used SBAR improve their next SBAR simulation experience?
  3.  Does student review writing rubric scores (reflection on their grades) improve their writing?

Measure changes in students' attitudes

  1. Which learning experiences improve students' interest in being change agents for health policy?
  2. Is there an association between an SDOH assessment and students' value of knowing their patient's background?

When you have found a topic or several topics about learning, the next step is finding a journal that will publish/ be interested in this topic. (Please see the following link on find a journalFind a journal.)