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NURS 4210 Syllabus

Course Syllabus

NURS 4210 - Health Care Research

3 Credit Hours

Course Information

Course Description:

This course builds upon the student’s liberal arts background and basic health care knowledge, utilizing systematic inquiry and analysis by reinforcing the problem-solving method to utilize research in the improvement of health care practice to effect positive outcomes.  Attention is given to a thorough search and critique of the literature related to a problem area selected by the student.  A problem statement within the context of a theoretical framework will be developed by the student, as the student justifies the necessity of exploring the problem.  A practice issue will be identified and once benchmark research is critiqued a protocol to address that problem and the method by which to implement the protocol will be created and explained. The practice issue can relate to a patient care problem, a community intervention, or a system intervention such as a health care institution or facility where occupational and safety health standards are mandated.

          The problem and intervention must have practice focus that contributes to application of research to effect a positive.  A complete evidenced based protocol or intervention is an essential element for passing the course.  This course meets the requirements of a basic research course for those intending to pursue graduate study in nursing.

Course Outcomes:
  1. Identify the relationships among research, theory and practice in health care.
  2. Compare and contrast the elements of  both qualitative and quantitative research processes.
  3. Consider the significance of  research in developing the knowledge base for health care delivery.
  4. Analyze health care phenomena for research possibilities.
  5. Critically analyze selected  research studies and in interpret their implications for health care delivery.
  6. Differentiate research designs, methods, techniques and tools which may have utility in health care  research.
  7. Examine the significance of human rights in nursing research.
  8. Define the contribution of health care research in improving health care delivery.
  9. Analyze and critique health care research studies for significance and value to practice.
  10. Recognize the effects of research on health care of individuals, families and communities.
  11. Develop a protocol or intervention based that impacts health care delivery, based on quality research.
Prerequisites & Co-requisites:

Admission to the TN eCampus MSN Bridge program and undergraduate statistics

Course Topics:
  1. The scientific research process.
  2. Preliminary Research steps.
  3. The role of literature in research.
  4. Refining the research problem and context.
  5. Research questions, problems, and hypotheses.
  6. Research designs (quantitative and qualitative)
  7. Sampling and measurement.
  8. Data Collection methods.
  9. Analysis of research data.
  10. Appraisal of research reports.

Utilization of research in practice

Specific Course Requirements:

No specific software or materials are needed.  Some presentations may be in powerpoint presentation. A viewer is downloadable through any internet server at no cost. In addition, some modules may include voice over lecture content requiring a computer with audio capabilities.

Textbooks, Supplementary Materials, Hardware and Software Requirements

Required Textbooks:

Please visit the Virtual Bookstore to obtain textbook information for this course. Move your cursor over the "Books" link in the navigation bar and select "Textbooks & Course Materials." Select your Program, Term, Department, and Course; then select "Submit."

Supplementary Materials:


Hardware and Software Requirements:

Minimum hardware requirements can be found here.

Minimum software requirements can be found here.

Common applications you might need:

Web Resources:

Purdue OWL Online Writing Lab (for APA, MLA, or Chicago style)

The Writing Center Online Writer's Handbook

Student Resources:
  • Technical support information can be found on the TN eCampus Help Desk page.
  • Smarthinking virtual tutoring is available FREE of charge. to access Smarthinking, visit the course homepage and select Smarthinking under Course Resources. You also view sample sessions to see what Smarthinking offers and how it works.
  • Information on other student issues or concerns can be located on the TN eCampus Student Resources page.

Instructor Information

Please see "Instructor Information" in the Getting Started Module for instructor contact information, virtual office hours, and other communication information. You can expect to receive a response from the instructor within 24-48 hours unless notified of extenuating circumstances.

Participation, Assessments, & Grading

Testing Procedures:


Grading Procedures:

If barriers or challenges to progress in this course are encountered, the student must discuss those issues with the course faculty prior to the achievement of a final grade in this course.



Research Question/Hypothesis Exercise


NIH Exercise


Annotated Bibliography x 4 (1.25% each)


Discussion Board (6 postings)


Research Article Critique: May be completed as a group of 2


Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Paper: May be completed as a group of 2


Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Presentation


Grading Scale:

Point Range

Assigned Grade









less than 70


Assignments and Projects:

Please note: all assignment due dates may be found in the course calendar.

Research Question/Hypothesis Exercise:

Objective: Students will demonstrate understanding of research questions, hypothesis, and research variables.

  1. Each student will choose 4 topics for completion of this exercise. (Topics are listed in MODULE 2 Additional Resources).
  2. Complete each of the grids (4) utilizing each of your 4 assigned topics. 
  3. Write both a simple and a complex hypothesis for each topic. 
  4.  Label the hypothesis either directional or non-directional.  There is no penalty if they are all the same type. 
  5.  Lastly list the variables and identify them as either independent or dependent.
  6. Submit this grid to the drop box before the assigned dead line as noted in the course calendar. This must be submitted as ONE file and not four different files to the drop box.
  7. The grid is attached as a word document in Module 2 "Additional Resources"
  8. The topic choices are also listed in MODULE 2 "Additional Resources"

Note: You are not required to "find" hypothesis or questions related to your topic from a research study. You may create these for this assignment. 

NIH Exercise:

1. NIH Human Participant Protections Certificate Completion- This online program is supported by the federal government and is accessible to all researchers across the country. It is required in order to do research for federal grants. It is a six-part program on ethics requiring you to log on, complete each part and the short test for each, then receive a certificate stating successful completion. The program takes an average of 2 and 1/2 hours to complete, although you can go in and do one part, exit, and then return later to complete.  Just follow the instructions given you at the website. Upon completion you will be expected to copy the certificate and submit it in the appropriate drop box. You can access the program at this URL: NIH Training You must register, but registration is free.

  • Read the assigned chapter in the text prior to completing the will have better understanding of the content.
  • After completion of the on line program copy the certificate of completion and submit to the appropriate drop box by the assigned date in the course calendar.


Annotated Bibliography:

1. Each student will choose 4 articles (1 must be a nursing journal) that pertain to your chosen topic for your Research-Based Intervention paper.

2. ***This is an individual assignment, NOT a group assignment***

3. The goal is for you to collect literature to assist with the writing of the Research Based Clinical Intervention Paper and to bring this to your group after you have completed and submitted the annotated bibliography

4. For guidelines in writing an annotated bibliography use this site: Annotated Bibliography Link

5. In one paragraph address the 4 steps presented in this website to complete the annotated bibliography.

i. Evaluate the authority or background of the author(s) 

ii. Who is the intended audience

iii. Compare or contrast this work with another you have cited

iv. Explain how this work benefits you with your topic 

6. Complete an annotated bibliography for each of your 4 articles and submit to the drop box by the assigned deadline. Submit as one file. DO NOT submit 4 different files to the drop box.

7. The source will be referenced using APA format and will serve as the heading for each annotated bibliography. 


Reference cited in APA format (25%)

One paragraph using the 4 steps outlined in the website for annotated bibliographies:

  • Evaluation of the authority of the authors (20%)
  • Intended audience (20%)
  • Compare and/or contrast this work with another you have cited (20%)
  • Explain how this article works with your proposed topic (15%)

This will be repeated for all 4 annotated bibliographies.

Research Article Critique:

1. This assignment requires you to critique 1 quantitative nursing research article or your choice.

2. I would recommend you consider using articles you are utilizing in your Research-Based Clinical Intervention Paper to decrease the amount of literature searching you will need to do.

3. Each individual or group (no more than 2 members) must search the literature and find one quantitative research article for critique. To avoid students critiquing the same article, a section in the discussion board is available for you to post your article in APA format and include a link for faculty review. It will be on a first come/ first serve. It is the responsibility of each student to check the list prior to posting to determine that you are not using the same article as a fellow student.  This allows faculty to give feedback as to the appropriateness of the article for critique.

4. APA is required when posting the reference

5. Guidelines: Remember this is a critique and not just a regurgitation of parts of the paper. You must read the article and provide your viewpoint/critical assessment of the article and study with rationale. Below are some questions to consider when writing the critique.

i. References: author, source, year, etc. (APA format)

ii. Credibility: Was the organization of the report logical and well-written? Is/are the author/s credible for this topic of research? Does the abstract include enough information about the project and the results?

iii. Problem Statement: Is the statement clearly identified and does the researcher discuss its importance to nursing? Is a research question clearly identifiable? What are the independent and dependent variables and are they clearly identifiable? Is there a discussion as to how extraneous variables are controlled?

iv. Background: Is the purpose clearly stated and its significance discussed? Does the introduction/abstract provide adequate information to interest the reader

v. Hypothesis: Is the hypothesis clearly stated and is it directional or nondirectional?

vi. Literature review: Is the review logical and is there a relationship between previous research and current studies made in the L. review. Are any gaps in the literature discussed? Is a good argument made for the current study? Substantiate your answers.

 vii. Theoretical Framework: Is a framework clearly stated or implied? Is rationale for use of the framework discussed? Is the theoretical/conceptual framework logically linked to the problem? Are the concepts adequately defined and the relationships between or among the concepts clearly identified? Demonstrate your answers.

 viii. Methodology: are the variables clearly defined, what type of research design is used and is it appropriate for this study, what are data collection methods and are they clearly described, what are the potential and/or identified threats to both internal and external validity

ix. Sampling: are subjects and sampling methods clearly described and are they appropriate for this study, is the sample size sufficient, any discussion of protection of human subjects/ethical issues

x. Instrumentation: what instruments are utilized and are they clearly described

xi. Analysis: are the statistical tests clearly identified, are the levels of measurement for each variable discussed, are the results clearly described in an understandable manner

xii. Authors Conclusions: Does the author provide conclusions about study, does author make recommendations about further research, does author identify strengths and weaknesses

xiii. Critiquers' Conclusions: 

  1. Does the article make sense?
  2. Is the article useful?
  3. Do you have confidence in the findings? Why or why not?
  4. What significance do you see from this study for nursing in general? 

 Research Article Critique Grading Criteria:



Faculty Comments

Reference Info (APA format)






Problem Statement









Literature Review



Theoretical/Conceptual Framework















Author’s Conclusions



Critiquers' Conclusions



 Final Grade



 Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Paper:

Objective: Students will demonstrate synthesis of course content in the compilation of this assignment.

1. Select an element of health care practice related to a clinical practice experience for which you have an interest in investigating. This may be in any area of nursing: acute care, end of life care, nursing administration, school health, community health, etc. Search the literature related to this problem and determine the best practice recommended based on the research literature. Once you know your topic of interest spend some time reading early on to clarity your direction.

  • An example of a topic might be NPO status prior to surgery. An intervention might be to implement a policy based on current research that would alter this policy of NPO or stop it altogether. 

2. After selecting a topic you would like to pursue, you will need to submit a brief description (one paragraph) of the intervention upon which your paper will focus. Submit this to the appropriate discussion board. Remember to include all group member names in the post if you are completing this paper as a group of two. This will be the start of the Introduction of your final paper.

3. References for the paper should include AT LEAST 5 published research studies reflecting the current status of research findings related to your chosen topic Lay material is not acceptable. For example: Newsweek, Parents Magazine, etc.

4. Literature Review: After reviewing and summarizing the current literature in this area, you will make a recommendation for the standard of practice related to this intervention. The Annotated Bibliography information should help you here. The Literature Review is NOT a regurgitation of the articles, but rather your synthesis of the information. 

Based on your own clinical knowledge and the research data you have reviewed provide an explanation for your proposed plan of action. You will then need to proceed to explain why your recommend this plan of action. This section should reflect critical thinking on your part in beginning to synthesize various research findings and developing a strong position as to why this course of action would be best. This section should also include your consideration of factors related to the safety, effectiveness, and cost of implementing this intervention related to the care of your selected patient population/setting.

5. Outline an action plan for implementation of your identified intervention. Include information such as:

  1.  Name of facility and/or unit
  2.  Method of communicating your findings
  3.  Identify key people to be involved in the proposed change (administration, committees, staff, etc.)
  4.  Identify who will be affected by the proposed change
  5.  Identify who you believe will resist the proposed change and provide rationale.
  6. What is your plan for minimizing this resistance
  7. How will you implement the change
  8. Identify any problematic or especially important aspects of implementation
  9. How will you evaluate the intervention

Note: This paper must be written in APA format, but an abstract is not necessary. You must cite your sources appropriately and use limited quotes.

Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Paper Grading Criteria:



Faculty Comments




Literature Review: Does the literature support this change/intervention?



Action Plan

Agency specific: 2% Communication: 10%     Identify Key Players 3% Those impacted 3% Resistance and plans for addressing 7% Implementation Plan: 15% Evaluation: 10%






Appropriateness of topic



Grammar and writing clarity







Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Presentation:  

1. Each presentation will be in the format of a powerpoint presentation unless other formats are agreed upon between student and faculty.

2. All presentations will be posted as an attachment on the appropriate discussion board.

3. When posting the presentation include an abbreviated title and your name on the subject line. 

4. The presentation should follow the format of the paper. However, DO NOT make “WORDY” power point slides….do NOT cut and paste from your paper.  

a. A good rule of thumb with presentation slides is NO more than 8 lines on a slide 

b. If additional space is need for clarity use the “notes” section at the bottom of the slides for your peers and faculty to read.

5.Participation of the class is expected in the form or appropriate and thoughtful questions on the discussion board.

Evidence Based Clinical Intervention Presentation Grading Criteria:


Faculty Comments

Presentation Style (5%)


Rationale (10%)


Literature Review: Brief Summary--Bulleted points (10%)


Action Plan-Bulleted Points (50%)


How will effectiveness be evaluated (10%)


Is additional research needed? If so what would be indicated? (10%)


Discussion Board:

Participation in six (6) discussion boards will be required for this course. The specific requirements for each discussion can be found in the designated modules and in the appropriate discussion boards forums. Each student is expected to post assignments on time and to fully participate in discussing the subject matter with their peers. You will note two due dates for each discussion board assignment. The "initial post" date requires all students submit their original post related to the content. The "end discussion" board dates indicate all discussions on that board will cease. If you submit your original posts late your classmates are under no obligation to participate in your discussion board. You are expected to post to two additional students posts for each discussion board and to answer any questions your peers may pose related to your original post. 

Discussion Board Grading Criteria:

Discussion post reflects understanding of the content and fully answers the questions posed in the assignment.


Post is without grammatical and/or spelling errors


Responds to at least two peer discussion posts on each discussion board with


Answers all questions posed to their original post


Submitted on time

5 points deducted for each day late

Class Participation:

All students are expected to fully participate in all aspects of the course. All course assignments are expected to be completed on or before the due dates posted in the course calendar. 

Late Policy:

A "Late Assignment" dropbox will be provided for all late work. Late assignments will receive a 5 point deduction for each day late for the assignment.

Course Ground Rules

The following two statements (1., 2.) were derived from the TBR System-wide Student Rules document, released January 2012:


Read the document in its entirety here.

1. Standards of Conduct:

  • Students are required to adhere to the same professional, legal and ethical standards of conduct online as on campus. In addition, students should conform to generally accepted standards of "netiquette" while sending e-mail, posting comments to the discussion board, and while participating in other means of communicating online. Specifically, students should refrain from inappropriate and/or offensive language, comments and actions.

2. Review the TN eCampus Academic Integrity/Academic Honesty Policy:

  • In their academic activities, students are expected to maintain high standards of honesty and integrity. Academic dishonesty is prohibited.

Such conduct includes, but is not limited to:

  • an attempt by one or more students to use unauthorized information in the taking of an exam
  • to submit as one's own work, themes, reports, drawings, laboratory notes, computer programs, or other products prepared by another person,
  • or to knowingly assist another student in obtaining or using unauthorized materials.

Plagiarism, cheating, and other forms of academic dishonesty are prohibited.

Students guilty of academic misconduct, either directly or indirectly through participation or assistance, are subject to disciplinary action through the regular procedures of the student’s home institution.  Refer to the student handbook provided by your home institution to review the student conduct policy.

In addition to other possible disciplinary sanctions that may be imposed, the instructor has the authority to assign an "F" or zero for an activity or to assign an "F" for the course.

Other Course Rules:

Students are expected to:

  • Participate in all aspects of the course
  • Communicate with other students
  • Learn how to navigate in Brightspace
  • Keep abreast of course announcements
  • Use the assigned course management (Brightspace) email address rather than a personal email address
  • Address technical problems immediately:
  • Observe course netiquette at all times.

Guidelines for Communications


  • Always include a subject line.
  • Remember without facial expressions some comments may be taken the wrong way. Be careful in wording your emails. Use of emoticons might be helpful in some cases.
  • Use standard fonts.
  • Do not send large attachments without permission.
  • Special formatting such as centering, audio messages, tables, html, etc. should be avoided unless necessary to complete an assignment or other communication.
  • Respect the privacy of other class members


  • Review the discussion threads thoroughly before entering the discussion. Be a lurker then a discussant.
  • Try to maintain threads by using the "Reply" button rather starting a new topic.
  • Do not make insulting or inflammatory statements to other members of the discussion group. Be respectful of other’s ideas.
  • Be patient and read the comments of other group members thoroughly before entering your remarks.
  • Be cooperative with group leaders in completing assigned tasks.
  • Be positive and constructive in group discussions.
  • Respond in a thoughtful and timely manner.


The Tennessee Virtual Library is available to all students enrolled in TN eCampus programs and courses. Links to library materials (such as electronic journals, databases, interlibrary loans, digital reserves, dictionaries, encyclopedias, maps, and librarian support) and Internet resources needed by learners to complete online assignments and as background reading will be included within the course modules. To access the Virtual Library, go to the course homepage and select the Virtual Library link under Course Resources.

Students with Disabilities

Qualified students with disabilities will be provided reasonable and necessary academic accommodations if determined eligible by the appropriate disability services staff at their home institution. Prior to granting disability accommodations in this course, the instructor must receive written verification of a student's eligibility for specific accommodations from the disability services staff at the home institution. It is the student's responsibility to initiate contact with their home institution's disability services staff and to follow the established procedures for having the accommodation notice sent to the instructor.

Syllabus Changes

The instructor reserves the right to make changes as necessary to this syllabus. If changes are necessitated during the term of the course, the instructor will immediately notify students of such changes both by individual email communication and posting both notification and nature of change(s) on the course bulletin board.


The information contained in this syllabus is for general information purposes only. While we endeavor to keep this information up-to-date and accurate, there may be some discrepancies between this syllabus and the one found in your online course. The syllabus of record is the one found in your online course. Please make sure you read the syllabus in your course at the beginning of the semester. Questions regarding course content should be directed to your instructor.

Last Revised on May 9, 2017