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Keywords:

  • Disciplinary-specific;
  • multidisciplinary;
  • interdisciplinary research in nursing

Abstract

Purpose

To assess author credentials of quantitative research in nursing, the composition of the research teams, and the disciplinary focus of the theories tested.

Design

Nursing Research, Western Journal of Nursing Research, and Journal of Advanced Nursing were selected for this descriptive study; 1990, 1995, 2000, 2005, and 2010 were included. The final sample consisted of 484 quantitative research articles.

Findings

From 1990 to 2010, there was an increase in first authors holding doctoral degrees, research from other countries, and funding. Solo authorship decreased; multi-authorship and multidisciplinary teams increased. Theories tested were mostly from psychology; the testing of nursing theory was modest. Multidisciplinary research far outdistanced interdisciplinary research.

Conclusions

Quantitative nursing research can be characterized as multidisciplinary (distinct theories from different disciplines) rather than discipline-specific to nursing. Interdisciplinary (theories synthesized from different disciplines) research has been conducted minimally.

Clinical Relevance

This study provides information about the growth of the scientific knowledge base of nursing, which has implications for practice.