Registered Nurses' experiences of reading and using research for work and education: a qualitative research study

Sonia Hines, Joanne Ramsbotham, Fiona Coyer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)
78 Downloads (Pure)


Background: Considerable resources have been expended, both in universities and health workplaces to improve nurses' abilities to interact with research and research literature to enable their engagement with evidence-based practice. Despite these efforts, a considerable number of nurses experience difficulty with research literature and are reluctant to use it in practice. 

Aims: This study aimed to explore the experiences and perceptions of Registered Nurses when they have been required to read and understand research literature for work or education. 

Design: A qualitative descriptive study using online and in-person focus groups.

 Methods: Focus groups (online and in-person) were conducted between June and November 2020. Forty participants were included. We used focus group recordings and field notes to collect data. Transcribed records of these focus groups were coded on the basis of similarity of meaning and then subjected to thematic analysis. 

Results: Three distinct themes were identified from the data: 'coming into learning about research', fitting research into the reality of nursing life', and 'working towards using research.' Participants described their early experiences in learning about research, experiences both positive and negative in integrating research into practice, and their personal strategies for reading and using research, particularly in the context of significant anxiety about understanding the content of methods and results sections of quantitative research articles.

 Conclusion: This study goes beyond the barriers and facilitators dichotomy that has been the majority of the conversation about nurses' evidence-based practice engagement previously, and explores the issues underlying aversion to research literature. Many nurses struggle with the language, numbers, and/or statistics used in research and this requires educational interventions suited to the problem and the population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number114
Number of pages14
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 12 May 2022


  • Focus groups
  • Mathematics anxiety
  • Nursing
  • Qualitative research
  • Research
  • Research literacy


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