Nursing (NURS) 328

Understanding Research (Revision 7)

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Post RN BN Pre/co-requisite: MATH 215 or MATH 216 or an equivalent introductory statistics course.

Post LPN BN Pre/co-requisite: NURS 250

Precluded Course: NURS 328 cannot be taken for credit if credit has already been obtained for NURS 425.

Faculty: Faculty of Health Disciplines

Centre: Centre for Nursing and Health Studies

NURS 328 is not available for Challenge.

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**Note: Follow directions on the [Undergraduate Course Registration] form to register in the course. Online course materials cannot be accessed prior to your course contract start date.


Nursing 328: Understanding Research introduces students to the research process and to the methods and analytical tools they require to critically evaluate research reports. The course provides students with an overview of qualitative and quantitative approaches to research.

Learning Outcomes

Upon completion of NURS 328, the student will achieve or exceed the following course outcomes:

  • Explain the importance of research to evidence-based professional practice.
  • Describe ethical considerations in research.
  • Describe quantitative and qualitative approaches to research.
  • Critically appraise research reports.

Course Structure

  • Unit 1: The Value of Research and Evidenced-based Practice
  • Unit 2: Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Two Alternative Paradigms
  • Unit 3: Research Ethics
  • Unit 4: Research Problems, Questions, and Hypotheses
  • Unit 5: The Literature Review
  • Unit 6: The Theoretical Frame
  • Unit 7: Quantitative Research Design
  • Unit 8: Qualitative Research Design
  • Unit 9: Sampling in Research
  • Unit 10: Scrutinizing Data Collection Methods
  • Unit 11: Evaluating Measurements and Data Quality
  • Unit 12: Analyzing Quantitative Data
  • Unit 13: Analysis of Qualitative Data
  • Unit 14: Critiquing Research Reports


To receive credit for NURS 328, students must complete and submit all of the required assignments and achieve a composite grade of at least ā€œCā€ (64 percent). Effective January 1, 2010, all papers submitted must follow the guidelines of the APA Publication Manual (6th ed.) (2010).

The assignments and weighting of the composite grade is as follows:

Facilitating Evidence Based Practice 15%
Making Research Real and Relevant 25%
Critique of a Research Report 30%
Final Examination 30%
Total 100%

The final examination for this course must be taken online with an AU approved exam invigilator at an approved invigilation centre. It is your responsibility to ensure your chosen invigilation centre can accommodate online exams. For a list of invigilators that can accommodate online exams, visit the Exam Invigilation Network.

To learn more about assignments and examinations, please refer to Athabasca University's online Calendar.

Course Materials


Loiselle, C., Profetto-McGrath, J., Polit, D., & Beck. ( 2011). Canadian essentials of nursing research. (3rd ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Other Materials

A variety of electronic journal articles and websites are used in the course and paper copies are not included in the course package.

Athabasca University reserves the right to amend course outlines occasionally and without notice. Courses offered by other delivery methods may vary from their individualized-study counterparts.

Opened in Revision 7, July 12, 2016.

View previous syllabus

Updated July 12 2016 by Student & Academic Services