Using a Research Log and Reflective Writing to Improve EBP and Information Literacy Skills of BSN Students

Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



Background Baccalaureate nursing educators must prepare nurses to implement evidence-based practice (EBP). BSN nurses must be able to effectively identify, analyze, and synthesize evidence (AACN, 2008). In a nursing research course, students conducted group projects which required searching for the best evidence. Project evaluations revealed that students were not searching systematically. To facilitate EBP and information literacy skill development, a collaboration between the College of Nursing and Library Services emerged.

Targeted Learning Outcomes 1. Formulate a strategic search using databases and Internet resources 2. Evaluate and select the ‘best available’ evidence 3. Document systematic search (keywords, subject headings, limiters, and results) 4. Describe why evidence was selected 5. Reflect on search process, difficulties, and potential revisions for next search.

Teaching Learning Activities In spring of 2012, research logs were added to an EBP group project requiring students to identify the best evidence. Groups documented their search using a research log worksheet and narrative which included reflection of the search process, evidence appraisal, and strengths and weakness. Although the research log worksheet provided structure, specific problems including uncoordinated group searches, inadequate articulation of evidence selection, and limited reflection about strengths and weaknesses were still identified. Additional sessions reinforcing information literacy skills were integrated in the course. The information literacy skills sessions and research logs were implemented for two subsequent semesters.

Evaluation of Approach Student research log and EBP group project scores will be compared over three semesters using ANOVA to determine differences in group performance. During initial data analysis, an independent t test reflected a significant difference between scores for Spring 2012 and Fall 2012 groups. The Fall 2012 groups who used research logs and experienced additional information literacy skills sessions scored significantly higher on their assignments than Spring 2012 groups. Data collection for Spring 2013 is in progress. Final study results as well as implications for nursing education will be articulated.