Accuracy of references in nursing journals


  • Marquis D. Foreman M.S.N., R.N.,

    1. Doctoral candidate at the College of Nursing, University of Illinois at Chicago
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  • Karin T. Kirchhoff Ph.D., R.N.

    Corresponding author
    1. Associate Director of Nursing/Research and Associate Professor at the University of Utah Hospital and College of Nursing in Salt Lake City
    • Associate Director of Nursing/Research & Associate Professor, University of Utah Hospital & College of Nursing, 25 South Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 841 12
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The purpose of this study was to quantify and classify errors in reference lists of randomly selected, recently published issues of nursing journals (n = 17) and to assess whether these errors prevented retrieval of the cited documents. Randomly selected references, 65 from clinical journals and 47 from non-clinical journals, were compared to the original sources for accuracy. Errors were classified as minor (not preventing retrieval) and major (preventing retrieval). Errors occurred more frequently in references in clinical journals, 38.4% of those reviewed, as compared to 21.3% in of non-clinical journals. Additionally, 4.6% of the clinical references contained major errors, but no major errors were located in references from the non-clinical journals. These findings have implications for all readers.