10 Essential Steps: What is the Process of Nursing Research?

As a nurse or nursing student interested in conducting or understanding nursing research, it’s important to know the steps involved in the process. In this blog post, I will provide an overview of the main steps involved in nursing research, and explain the importance of each step.

What is the Process of Nursing Research?

Nursing research is a systematic and objective process of analyzing phenomena important to nursing, such as practice, education, administration, and healthcare delivery. The process follows a series of identifiable steps or phases that help solve problems or answer questions related to nursing. Let’s take a look at each step in detail:

1. Identification of the problem:

In this first step, you define the topic or issue that you want to investigate and specify the purpose, significance, and scope of your study.

2. Review of literature:

The second step involves searching for and evaluating existing literature on your topic. Identify gaps, inconsistencies, and controversies in current knowledge, and formulate your research question or hypothesis based on the literature review.

3. Derivation of conceptual framework:

In the third step, you develop a theoretical or conceptual framework that guides your study. Identify the key concepts, variables, and relationships that are relevant to your research question or hypothesis and explain how they are linked.

4. Formulation of hypothesis:

In the fourth step, you state your hypothesis or prediction about the relationship between your variables. You should also specify the direction and magnitude of the expected effect and the level of significance that you will use to test your hypothesis.

5. Selection of research design:

The fifth step involves choosing the most appropriate research design for your study. Consider the type, level, and quality of evidence that you want to generate, ethical and practical issues, and decide how you will control for confounding factors and threats to validity and reliability.

6. Measurement of variables:

In the sixth step, you operationalize your variables and select or develop instruments or tools to measure them. Ensure that your instruments or tools are valid, reliable, sensitive, specific, and feasible for your study population and setting.

7. Sampling:

The seventh step involves selecting or recruiting your sample or participants for your study. Determine the sampling method, size, criteria, and procedure that will ensure the representativeness, generalizability, and adequacy of your sample or participants.

8. Data collection:

In the eighth step, you collect your data according to your research design and protocol. Follow ethical principles and guidelines for informed consent, confidentiality, privacy, safety, and respect for your sample or participants. Ensure the accuracy, completeness, consistency, and timeliness of your data collection.

9. Data analysis:

The ninth step involves analyzing your data using appropriate statistical techniques and software. Test your hypothesis or answer your research question using descriptive and inferential statistics. Check for assumptions, outliers, errors, and missing values in your data.

10. Dissemination of results:

The final step involves communicating your findings and implications to your target audience. Prepare a report or manuscript that summarizes your study background, methods, results, discussion, conclusion, limitations, recommendations, and references. Present your findings in oral or poster presentations at conferences or seminars.

The nursing research process is a complex and rigorous process that requires careful planning, execution, analysis, and dissemination. However, it is also a rewarding and fulfilling process that can enhance your professional development, improve nursing practice and outcomes, and contribute to nursing science.

I hope this blog post has given you some insight into the nursing research process. If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below. Thank you for reading!


Q: What is the importance of informed consent in nursing research?

A: Informed consent is crucial in nursing research to ensure that participants are fully aware of the study’s purpose, potential risks and benefits, and their rights as a participant before agreeing to participate.

Q: What is the significance of peer review in nursing research?

A: Peer review is a crucial part of the nursing research process, as it involves the evaluation of the research by experts in the same field to ensure the quality, validity, and reliability of the study before publication.

Q: What is a research proposal, and why is it important in nursing research?

A: A research proposal is a document that outlines the research project’s objectives, methodology, and expected outcomes. It is essential in nursing research as it helps researchers to identify the research problem, clarify research objectives, and obtain funding to conduct the study.

Q: What is the IRB and why is it important in nursing research?

A: The IRB, or Institutional Review Board, is a committee responsible for reviewing and approving research proposals to ensure that they meet ethical and legal standards for the protection of human subjects. It is important in nursing research because it helps to safeguard the rights and welfare of research participants.

Q: What is the significance of a literature review in nursing research?

A: A literature review is a critical analysis of existing literature on a specific topic or research question. It is significant in nursing research because it helps researchers to identify gaps in knowledge, build on previous research, and establish the theoretical and conceptual framework for their study.

Q: What is informed consent and why is it important in nursing research?

A: Informed consent is a process by which research participants are informed about the purpose, procedures, risks, and benefits of a study and voluntarily decide to participate. It is important in nursing research because it respects the autonomy of research participants and ensures that they are fully informed about the study before agreeing to participate.

Q: What is data analysis and why is it important in nursing research?

A: Data analysis is the process of organizing, summarizing, and interpreting data collected in a study. It is important in nursing research because it enables researchers to draw conclusions, make inferences, and identify patterns and relationships in the data, which can inform clinical practice and contribute to the development of nursing knowledge.


[1] Arslanian, C. (2000). Introduction to the nursing research process. Orthopaedic Nursing, 19(1), 35-42. https://doi.org/10.1097/00006416-200019010-00009

[2] Burns, N., & Grove, S. K. (2017). Understanding nursing research: Building an evidence-based practice (6th ed.). Elsevier.

[3] Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2018). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice (9th ed.). Wolters Kluwer.