Journal of Advanced Nursing

Cover image for Vol. 71 Issue 12

Edited By: Editor-in-Chief: Roger Watson; Editors: Robyn Gallagher, Mark Hayter, Jane Noyes, Rita Pickler & Brenda Roe

Impact Factor: 1.741

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2014: 8/109 (Nursing (Social Science)); 10/111 (Nursing (Science))

Online ISSN: 1365-2648

Empirical Research - Methodology

Last updated: November 2015

Methodological studies may report any type of methodological research, for example: the application of an existing method in a new context, the adaptation of an existing method, the development of a new method, proof of concept or important feasibility work, or development and/or testing of a conceptual model or framework. To be published in JAN the methodological issue should be of relevance to nursing and nursing research.

There are separate author guidelines for reporting the development of instruments, methodological systematic reviews and concept analyses. In addition, the ‘Discussion article’ guidelines may be appropriate for reporting methodology/methodological issues/analyses based on secondary data sources that do not meet the criteria for a systematic review.

Manuscripts submitted to JAN should not exceed 5,000 words for the main text, including quotations but excluding the abstract, summary statement, tables and references.

Organising your paper:

Separate files to be created and uploaded onto ScholarOne Manuscripts:

Title page file:
Your title page should include the following information:
• Full title (maximum 25 words)
• Running head
• Author details: names (please put last names in CAPITALS), job titles and affiliations (maximum of 3 per author), qualifications (maximum of 3 per author, including RN/RM where appropriate)
• Acknowledgements (if applicable)
Conflict of Interest statement
Funding Statement

Impact Statement
We ask all authors to prepare a short statement (approximately 100 words), using bullet points if necessary, on any impact you see your paper having in terms of patients, clinical practice, education, or wider social and economic issues. This will be seen by editors and reviewers and may be used for promotional purposes.

Main file, to include:

Abstract: 250 words. The abstract should include the following headings: Aims (of the paper), Background, Design, Methods, Results, Conclusion. The abstract should not contain abbreviations or detailed statistics. The Aim should simply state: ‘To…'
Summary Statement: Please see the Summary Statement guidelines.
Keywords: A maximum of 10, including nurses/midwives/nursing.
Main Text: To include the headings below and references.

Tables and figures should be uploaded separately.

The main text of your manuscript should include the following headings and sub-headings:

Clearly identify the rationale, context and international relevance of the methodology/methodological issue.

Present the method, and/or methodological issue, conceptual or theoretical framework that guided the methodological study, identifying and providing an overview of the methodological/conceptual model and/or theory where appropriate. Identify and define key concepts or study variables. Provide a substantial, critical review of relevant contextual, methodological and empirical literature.


State the aims of the methodological study as a study purpose or as research questions or hypotheses to be tested. For example, ‘The aim of the study was to…’

Identify the specific research design, methodological developmental framework and/or evaluation design used with appropriate citations. Describe the stages, methods, and processes for methodological development, adaptation, testing as appropriate. If appropriate it may be helpful to include a CONSORT diagram to illustrate the design and conduct of the methodological study.

If a sample was used - identify the sampling strategy/strategies used: random; stratified; convenience; purposive (state what purpose). For example, ‘A convenience sample of Registered Nurses was recruited’, ‘A random sample of patients was recruited…’ Identify the inclusion and exclusion criteria. For example, ‘The inclusion criteria were…’, ‘The exclusion criteria were…’ Explain how participants were recruited. Identify the size of the sample (and the population). Report the power analysis or sample size calculation, if appropriate; if not appropriate or not undertaken, provide another type of justification for the sample size.

Data generation/collection/testing
Select most appropriate heading(s) for the particular methodological study. Use additional subheadings for different types of data generation/collection/testing techniques, if appropriate, e.g. interviews, questionnaires, assessments. For example, ‘Data were collected using a questionnaire/interview/discrete choice experiment etc…’, ‘Individual assessments were conducted …’. Identify the period of data generation/collection/testing (e.g. between November 2008 - June 2009); usually this should be no more than five years before submission of the manuscript.

Ethical considerations
Identify any particular ethical issues that were attached to this research. Provide a statement of ethics committee approval. Do not name the university or other institution from which ethics committee approval was obtained. State only that ethics committee approval was obtained from a university and/or whatever other organisation is relevant. Explain any other approvals obtained, for example, local site arrangements to meet research governance requirements. If, according to local regulations, no formal ethical scrutiny was required or undertaken, please state this.

Data analysis
Describe the techniques used to analyse the data, including computer software used, if appropriate. For example, ‘SPSS version X was used to analyse the data. Analysis of variance techniques were used to test the hypotheses.’ In the case that a manuscript contains statistical analyses, the guidance on the statistical aspects may be helpful.

Validity and reliability/Rigour
Provide types of and estimates for rigor of assessments and/or the psychometric properties of quantitative instruments. If translation has been required from the original language, please explain the procedures used to maintain validity of translated tools. If tools were developed for this study, describe the processes employed, including validity and reliability testing. If the methodological study included qualitative methods, describe how rigor was maintained.

Report each stage of methodological development/adaptation/testing/evaluation. Provide an overall synthesis of different stages if appropriate.

Use subheadings as appropriate.

Use figures and tables as needed, but try to limit to no more than three or four tables and one or two figures. Each figure/table should be referred to in the text, but do not repeat in the text material which is set out in tables. Rather, identify key points in text, and refer readers to tables for detail. Tables/figures should be comprehensible without reference to the text, i.e. all abbreviations should be explained; all tests used identified, with provision of appropriate values.

Discussion must be in relation to the development/testing/application/evaluation of the method and/or methodological, conceptual or theoretical framework and existing literature.

Draw conclusions about what new knowledge has emerged from the methodological study. What readers want to know is what your work adds to existing methods/methodological literature.

End with study limitations including what else needs to be done to complete the development/validation/evaluation of the method/methodological issue.

Provide real conclusions, not just a summary/repetition of the findings. Discuss the transferability/generalisability/reliability/validity of findings to other contexts/populations and settings. Identify implications/recommendations for practice/research/evaluation as appropriate, and consistent with the limitations.