Introduction In order to be able to practise evidence-informed nursing an appreciation of what research is, the different approach to research, why we need it and the ethical considerations are essential. The intention of this chapter is to provide the reader with an introduction to these key elements of research awareness. The focus of this chapter is on research methodology to enable nurses to gain an understanding of research to inform their critical reading of it. You may well want to evaluate research findings as a precursor to implementing them in your own professional practice. This may include single research reports that you access. There are now initiatives that enable nurses to gain access to reports that have systematically considered the evidence for clinical interventions. These are of two types – systematic reviews and meta analysis. The former are systematic reviews of all the

available research reports on a given clinical intervention that meet the necessary standards for inclusion. If a number of researchers then come to the same conclusion, it increases our confidence that the intervention has a ‘real effect’. Meta analysis involves the combining of data from a number of studies that have used exactly the same methods and procedures and then analysing the combined data.