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An evaluation of the process and initial impact of disseminating a nursing e-thesis

Authors


C. Macduff: e-mail: c.macduff@rgu.ac.uk

Abstract

Title. An evaluation of the process and initial impact of disseminating a nursing e-thesis.

Aim.  This paper is a report of a study conducted to evaluate product, process and outcome aspects of the dissemination of a nursing PhD thesis via an open-access electronic institutional repository.

Background.  Despite the growth of university institutional repositories which make theses easily accessible via the world wide web, nursing has been very slow to evaluate related processes and outcomes.

Method.  Drawing on Stake’s evaluation research methods, a case study design was adopted. The case is described using a four-phase structure within which key aspects of process and impact are reflexively analysed.

Findings.  In the conceptualization/re-conceptualization phase, fundamental questions about the purpose, format and imagined readership for a published nursing PhD were considered. In the preparation phase, seven key practical processes were identified that are likely to be relevant to most e-theses. In the dissemination phase email invitations were primarily used to invite engagement. The evaluation phase involved quantitative indicators of initial impact, such as page viewing and download statistics and qualitative feedback on processes and product.

Conclusion.  Analysis of process and impact elements of e-thesis dissemination is likely to have more than intrinsic value. The advent of e-theses housed in web-based institutional repositories has the potential to transform thesis access and use. It also offers potential to transform the nature and scope of thesis production and dissemination. Nursing scholars can exploit and evaluate such opportunities.

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