• nursing research;
  • quantitative analysis;
  • research topics;
  • Australian publications;
  • research priority

Measuring the outputs of Australian nursing research published 1995–2000

Aims. To analyse the research published in refereed nursing journals by Australian authors from 1995 to 2000.

Background. Analysis of the research topics and types of methodologies used by Australian nurse researchers has not been recently undertaken. The study was similar to an analysis of United Kingdom (UK) nursing research between 1988 and 1995 to allow comparison between the two countries.

Design. A quantitative approach analysed the research abstracts for the topic researched, source of data, location of data collection, paradigm and methodology used and funding source.

Results. A total of 509 articles from 11 generalist Australian and UK nursing journals were analysed. The highest numbers of articles were published in Australian Journal of Advanced Nursing and Journal of Advanced Nursing. The most popular topics were education of nurses (18·7%, n=95) and practice issues relating to patient care (15·3%, n=78). However, scant attention was paid to major Australian health issues. Most research was undertaken in the hospital setting (55·8%, n=247). Data were most often drawn from nurses themselves (40·7%, n=206), followed by patients (25·5%, n=129). Both quantitative (41%, n=203) and qualitative approaches (47%, n=230) were employed. A minority of studies acknowledged any funding (14·9%, n=76).

Conclusions. Research findings need to be applied in practice to improve patient care. Nurse researchers need to publish their findings and align their research interests to meet national health priorities. They need to be involved in setting these health priorities to ensure that nursing has a place in health research.