Asking clinical research questions

Themed discussion post: asking clinical research questions


In this assessment, you will be participating in a themed Discussion Board (DB). The DB will be open for two weeks, and this task is worth 20% of your overall NUR342 grade.

General posting instructions:

  • You must address one of the clinical themes below
  • The word count for each post is 500 words +/- 10%, with a total of 1000 words for both posts
  • You should include your own perspective on the topic to develop the idea further
  • You should use a minimum of four relevant and current (less than ten years old) references to support your posts (two for the original and two for the reply)

Please note: Posts submitted after midnight will be subject to a 5% late penalty for each day not submitted as per the Higher Education Assessment Procedures.

Assessment task

Original post

  • Identify a clinical problem in a healthcare setting you are familiar with, e.g. emergency, rural remote, renal, paediatric etc
  • Describe why you have chosen this problem and this setting
  • Create a clinical research question which addresses the problem you have identified in your chosen scenario using the PICO (quantitative) or PICo (qualitative framework)
  • Find two articles that are directly related to your research question and identify how these articles address the problem

Reply post

  • Choose an original post that you find interesting to respond to
  • Explain to your peer why you have chosen their post
  • Provide your own thoughts and ideas on the topic
  • Find two different journal articles (not the ones your peer has used) that address your peer’s research question and explain why these articles are helpful.

Assessment two rubric: Themed Discussion Board (2 posts)


  Developing SatisfactoryAccomplished
Original postNo/limited description of clinical problemBasic description of clinical problem and•  Detailed description of clinical problem and
Create an original post and/or healthcare setting healthcare settinghealthcare setting
which addresses allNo/limited rationale for selecting questionBasic rationale for selecting topic•  Detailed rationale for selecting topic
elements of theNo/incorrect clinical research question formatCorrect clinical research question format•  Correct clinical research question format
assessment task0-1 or irrelevant/outdated/journal articles2 relevant and current journal articles•  2 relevant and current journal articles
  identified identifiedidentified
 No/limited description of how articles addressBasic description of how articles address the•  Detailed description of how articles address
  the clinical research problem clinical research problemthe clinical research problem
  Score: 0-3 Score: 4-5Score: 6-8
Reply postNo/limited reply to peerBasic reply to peer•  Detailed reply to peer
Create a respectful replyBasic rationale for selecting peer’s work
No/limited rationale for selecting peer’s work•  Detailed rationale for selecting peer’s work
post which addresses allInclusion of own thoughts/opinions on topic
No/limited inclusion of own thoughts/opinions•  Inclusion of own thoughts/opinions on topic
elements of the2 relevant and current journal articles
 on topic•  2 relevant and current journal articles
assessment task  identified
•  0-1 or irrelevant/outdated/journal articles identified
 Basic description of how articles address
  identified•  Detailed description of how articles address
   peer’s clinical research question
 •  No/limited description of how articles address peer’s clinical research question
  peer’s clinical research question Score: 4-5Score: 6-8
  Score: 0-3 
Presentation andFrequent Grammar / syntax, spelling errors.Infrequent Grammar / syntax, spelling errors.•  No Grammar / syntax, spelling errors.
referencingInfrequent referencing errors (CDU APA 7th)
Frequent referencing errors (CDU APA 7th)•  No referencing errors (CDU APA 7th)
Create two clear and  
logical posts with     
adherence to CDU APA 7th     
referencing Score: 0-1 Score: 1-2Score:3-4

Assessment three – critique of the literature


Assessment three builds on your work in the themed discussion boards (Assessment 2). For this assessment, you will be evaluating four recent journal articles related to your clinical question. You will do this by summarising and evaluating the articles in an annotated bibliography. An example of an annotated bibliography and a conclusion has been provided. Assessment three is divided into three sections to guide your critique of the literature.

General instructions

  • Due date – Due Sunday Week 12, 31/05/2020@1300 (CST)
  • The word count for the assessment is 1500 words +/- 10%
  • Assignments submitted after midnight will be subject to a 5% late penalty for each day not submitted as per the Higher Education Assessment Procedures.
  • Markers will stop reading at the maximum allowable word count
  1. Introduction/Background (100 words)

Task 1

Summarise the clinical problem you identified in the discussion board post and explain why this is an important healthcare issue

  1. Annotated bibliography (4 x 300 words)

Write an annotated bibliography for each of the four articles. In your annotated bibliography, you will need to address the following elements:

  • APA 7th reference
  • Was the article qualitative or quantitative?
  • What was the aim of the research?
  • What was the main argument of the study?
  • What methodology has been used (how was the study conducted)
  • What were the results of the study and do they answer the study question/aim?
  • What are the strengths and limitations of the study?
  • Overall statement on applicability of research to clinical practice
  1. Conclusion (200 words)

Conclude the assignment by bringing together (or Synthesizing) your evaluations and observations of the individual research articles in order to give the reader an overview of how the four articles address your clinical question. To conclude your assignment, decide whether the articles answer your question.


Annotated bibliography example

Smith, Z., & Hawthorn. (2018). Below knee TED stockings compared to thigh high stocking in preventing DVT. Hospital, 6(32), 99-34. Doi: 1564ert9g34u59g3

Smith and Hawthorn used a quantitative study design to compare the effectiveness of below-knee ted stockings to thigh high stocking in preventing deep vein thrombosis (DVT) in hospitalised patients. The authors argued that there was very little evidence supporting the use of thigh high stockings and that their use was associated with more complications such as pressure injuries. In this study, the authors used a randomised controlled trial design and patients were randomly allocated to receive either the below-knee or thigh-high TED stockings. All patients admitted to a surgical ward were approached to participate in the study. A total of 2034 patients were recruited into this study out of 3000 patients approached to participate.

The study protocol involved patients wearing the stockings during the day and night and were only to be removed during showering. Patients were monitored for DVTs during their hospitalisation, and the frequency of DVTs was compared between the two groups. The results from this study showed no significant difference between rates of DVT in patients who were allocated below-knee stocking and thigh high stockings. Smith and Hawthorn also report that 48 patients who were allocated thigh high stockings developed complications, ranging from mild irritation to more serious pressure injuries. No such complications were reported in the below-knee stocking group.

The study by Smith and Hawthorn has several strengths. Firstly, it’s one of the few studies to compare below-knee stockings to thigh high stockings, which helps to add to the evidence base supporting their use. Secondly, this study used a large study population which helps to build confidence in the study outcomes. Unfortunately, there are several limitations to this study that need to be acknowledged. Firstly, it is unclear whether true randomisation of study participants occurred as this is not described in the research article. When randomisation does not occur, this can introduce bias into the results. Secondly, only surgical patients were used in this study, which means the results could not be easily generalised to other populations such as medical or paediatric patients. Lastly, there is no description of how the researchers ensured patients adhered to the study protocol, which means it is possible some patients did not wear their stockings all the time. Overall this article adds to the growing body of research supporting the use of below-knee TED stockings, but due to the limitations mentioned, stronger evidence is needed to support a practice change.

Conclusion example

The four articles evaluated for this assessment examined whether below-knee TED stockings were as effective as thigh-high TED stockings in preventing DVTs in hospitalised patients.

Smith and Hawthorn (2018) and King and Phillips (2017) reported no difference between DVT rates when comparing stocking length in surgical patients. The generalizability of these results is limited, as both studies used surgical adult patients, and most of the participants were young, between 30 and 60 years of age. Moreover, despite reporting a randomised controlled trial study design only, the study by King and Phillips (2017) made clear their randomisation and blinding process.

In comparison, Henley and Nadeem (2020) and Parveen and Hue (2016) reported increased DVT rates in both medical and surgical patients allocated to wearing below-knee stockings. It is important to note that these two studies used a weaker study design, using a retrospective cohort design. Both studies reviewed the notes of medical and surgical patients who were diagnosed with a DVT in hospital, to determine what stockings they were allocated. This study design meant it was not possible to know how long the stockings were worn or whether participants wore more than one pair of stockings throughout their hospitalisation.

Overall the evidence supporting the routine use of below-knee stockings is inconclusive. Only two of the four reviewed articles reported no difference between DVT rates between the two stocking types and significant methodological differences between the four studies exist.

NUR342 assignment 3 rubric: critiquing the literature


Introduction backgroundNo/limited description of clinical topic•  Basic description of clinical topic•  Detailed description of clinical topic
Clear introduction andNo/limited description of clinical•  Clear description of clinical question•  Clear description of clinical question
background of clinical question question/question incomplete•  Basic description on its importance to•  Detailed discussion on its
and its importance to healthcare.No/limited discussion on its importance tohealthcareimportance to healthcare
    Score: 0-2.5Score:3-6  Score:7-10
Annotated bibliographyFrequent bibliographic citation errors•  Infrequent bibliographic citation errors•  No bibliographic citation errors
Annotated bibliography•  Basic description of research aim•  Detailed description of research aim
No/limited description of research aim
addressing the criteria outlined in•  Basic description of research methods•  Detailed description of research
No/limited description of research methods
the assessment description.•  basic description of how results helpmethods
No/limited discussion on how results help
   answer the clinical question•  detailed discussion on how results
    answer the clinical question
    •  Basic statement on applicability tohelp answer the clinical question
   No/limited statement on applicability to
   clinical practice•  Detailed statement on applicability
    clinical practice
     to clinical practice
    Score: 0-10Score: 11-20
      Score: 21-25
Literature synthesis andBasic description of each article no/limited•  Basic synthesis of chosen articles,•  Detailed synthesis of chosen articles
conclusion  basic linking of articles.clear linking of articles
   linking of articles
A clear synthesis your chosen •  Basic discussion of article strengths•  Detailed discussion of article
Limited/no discussion of article strengths
articles based upon the criteria inand weaknessesstrengths and weaknesses
 and weaknesses
the assessment description •  Basic description of how articles relate•  Detailed description of how articles
Limited/no description of how articles
   to your research questionrelate to your research question
    relate to your research question
    Score: 0-9Score: 10-15  Score: 16-20
Presentation and referencingFrequent Grammar / syntax, spelling errors.•  Infrequent Grammar / syntax, spelling•  No Grammar / syntax, spelling
Expression is clear and logicalerrors.
Frequent referencing errors (CDU APA 7th)errors.
throughout with adherence to•  No referencing errors  
 (CDU APA 7th)
  •  Infrequent referencing errors (CDU 
CDU APA 7threferencing   
   APA 7th)   
    Score: 0-2.4Score: 2.5-3  Score: 3.1-5