Chapter Research

What is Research?

Research is a process of utilizing rigorous methods to test, explore, or describe a phenomenon of interest, with the aim of generating new knowledge. The results of research help to improve understanding, processes, and outcomes.


Specifically, health research or applied health research, helps to improve healthcare policy, education, systems, practice, and ultimately ­— the well-being of individuals. Health research is essential for governments, organizations, healthcare providers, and individuals to make decisions and provide evidence-based practice (i.e., evidence-informed practice, best-practice). Evidence-based practice is an interdisciplinary approach to clinical practice that includes the integration of current high-quality findings, in combination with clinical expertise, to inform decisions about care.


Why is Health Research Important to Critical Care Nurses?

Health care is continually evolving and changing. Continuous inquiry facilitates the discovery of new knowledge that is important to the well-being of both nurses and patients. Research provides critical care nurses with knowledge and tools to support quality, safe care for critically and acutely-ill individuals.  Research may also impact the policy of organizations that critical care nurses work in.

There are several types and methods of research. Here are a few definitions for your interest and understanding:

Method Description
Qualitative Research Describing, exploring, and studying a human experience or social phenomenon in a natural setting. Think: Words and description/explanation.


Quantitative Research Measuring, hypothesis testing, and assessing causality/correlation. Think: Numbers and statistical analysis.


Mixed Methods Blend of qualitative and quantitative methods.


Quality Improvement Application of a previously tested intervention to a setting, to improve processes, practices, costs, or productivity.


Knowledge Translation (KT) Science Study of strategies and interventions to improve knowledge of KT processes. KT is the synthesis, exchange and application of knowledge and study findings.

How Can I Get Involved in Research?

Getting involved in research is less scary than you think! And there is a spectrum of engagement — it does not have to be a grand endeavor.

Here are a few tips to get involved in critical care and nursing research, and keep up to date on evidence-based practice:

  • Join our Journal Club (TBD): Our journal club will review high-quality, peer-reviewed journal articles from the CJCCN. We review these articles, assess for quality, and summarize information that is relevant to critical care nurses. We will also promote critical discussion of these articles amongst our members! Please email Paige or Nikko if you are interested in receiving notifications about our journal club.
  • Read the CACCN newsletter: The national level newsletters contains up-to-date resources and shares research related activities of our organization.
  • Read CJCCN articles: As members, you have free access to the Canadian Journal of Critical Care Nursing. This journal contains critical care nursing and medicine peer-reviewed journal articles.
  • Talk to your unit educator: Nursing educators are a great resource for evidence-based information.
  • Inquire about research at your hospital: Does your hospital have a research program? Do your unit have a research program? Ask your manager or educator.
  • Inquire about research on your unit: Critical care nurses are often involved in research, as the bedside healthcare provider (e.g., administering medications or collecting bloodwork). Tell your manager or educator that you are interested in the outcomes of studies on your unit.
  • Start a research interest group on your unit: Is there a research interest group on your unit? If not, this may be an opportunity for you to start dialogue about the importance of research for the nurses and patients on your unit. Use our Journal Club as a way to connect and as a resource for evidence-based information.
  • Join research interest groups: See “Research: Helpful Links”. Follow relevant research related groups or individuals or social media.
  • Let us know! (TBD) Please email us if you want to have your research team or activities highlighted on our website. In the future, we will be highlighting the research activities of our members on our website!

Paige Gehrke, RN, BScN, MScN (c)
CACCN Central Ontario Chapter, Research Lead

Nikko Umali
CACCN Central Ontario Chapter, Innovation Specialist


Bassil, K. and Zabkiewicz D. (2014). Health research methods: A Canadian perspective.

(1st edition). Oxford University Press Canada.

Colquhoun, H. L., Letts, L. J., Law, M. C., MacDermid, J. C., & Missiuna, C. A. (2010). A Scoping Review of the Use of Theory in Studies of Knowledge Translation. Canadian Journal of Occupational Therapy, 77(5), 270–279.

Luciani, M., Jack, S. M., Campbell, K., Orr, E., Durepos, P., Li, L., Strachan, P., & Di Mauro, S. (2019). An Introduction to Qualitative Health Research. Professioni Infermierstiche CNAI, 1–9.

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