Nursing (NURS) 328

Understanding Research (Revision 8)

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Delivery Mode: Individualized study online

Credits: 3

Area of Study: Applied Studies

Prerequisite: ENGL junior/senior (ENGL255 recommended). Available only to Bachelor of Nursing students or with professor approval

Post RN BN Pre/co-requisite: MATH 215 or MATH 216 or an equivalent introductory statistics course; ENGL junior/senior (ENGL255 recommended)

Post LPN BN Pre/co-requisite: NURS 250.

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.


Welcome to Nursing 328: Understanding Research. This course is designed to introduce learners to the research process and to the methods and analytical tools required to critically evaluate research reports. The goal is to excite you about research as you engage with your tutor and work through this course, demystifying the research process as you see how research applies to your professional life.

Learning Outcomes

The broad course outcomes are as follows. When you have completed this course, you should be able to

  • Explain the importance of research to evidence-informed professional practice;
  • Describe ethical considerations in research;
  • Describe quantitative, qualitative and mixed methods approaches to research;
  • Critically appraise research reports.

Course Structure

Nursing 328: Understanding Research is a three-credit course and is equivalent to a one-semester course at a conventional university. You have the flexibility to determine your own timelines for completing it, within the six-month course contract period. Nonetheless, you are encouraged to follow the study schedule as suggested and you should have no difficulty in completing the course within the six-month contract period. However, if you should find yourself running short of time you may purchase an extension to the contract as outlined in the Athabasca Calendar.


To receive credit for NURS 328, students must complete and submit all of the required assignments , complete the quizzes, and achieve a composite grade of at least C (64 percent). All papers submitted must follow the guidelines of the current APA Publication Manual

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

Assignment 1 15%
Assignment 2 15%
Assignment 3 35%
Quiz 1 15%
Quiz 2 20%
Total 100%

The Quiz will be an invigilated quiz located in the course study guide (the quiz is not booked through the myAU or the Exam Center). It is your responsibility to arrange invigilation directly through Proctor U.

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

Course Materials

Recommended Textbooks

  • Blackstone, A. (2019). Principles of sociological inquiry: Qualitative and quantitative methods.
    Retrieve from Open BC Campus
  • DeCarlo, M. (2019). Scientific inquiry in social work.
  • Woo, K. (2019). Polit & Beck Canadian essentials of nursing research (4th ed.). Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Please purchase the Woo textbook or, access the Blackstone (2019) or DeCarlo (2019) text for free at the aforementioned site. You may also access a resource of your choice.

* Assigned readings in the course study guide apply to either of the above texts.

Supplemental Resources

A number of additional readings and other resources are included throughout the course. Clicking on the title of the reading or resource will allow you to access it directly via the Athabasca University online library or the Internet.

A complete list of all course readings and supplemental resources can be found in the Reference section of the course. Additional resources that you may find helpful in exploring specific topics are located in the Bibliography.

You are encouraged to search for resources and to share those resources with other students enrolled in the course by posting the URL for the resource in the Additional Resources Conference Forum.

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 8, October 6, 2020.

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