Journal of Advanced Nursing

Cover image for Vol. 73 Issue 12

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

Impact Factor: 1.998

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2016: 13/116 (Nursing)

Online ISSN: 1365-2648

Empirical research - qualitative

Last updated: November 2015

Authors considering submitting a manuscript under this category are advised to consult the SRQR synthesis of recommendations for reporting qualitative research and follow the COREQ checklist for interviews and focus groups.

Manuscripts should not exceed 5,000 words for the main text, excluding the abstract, summary statement, tables and references. However, at the discretion of the Editor-in-Chief, a more flexible approach to the word limit may be approved for qualitative manuscripts of exceptional quality and importance. Authors who anticipate that their manuscript requires more than 5000 words to adhere to international reporting standards should first make maximum use of supplemental online files (see Supplementary Information), and then outline the reason for requiring additional words in the main text in the accompanying letter to the Editor-in-Chief. Additional flexibility with the word count will be considered on a case by case basis.

Organising your manuscript:

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

In general we do not include country names in published articles and therefore encourage you to omit these from your manuscript title.

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. Your abstract should include the following headings: Aims (of the paper), Background, Design, Methods (including year of data collection), Results/Findings, Conclusion. The Aim should simply state: ‘To…”
Summary Statement: 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 report should include the following headings:

Clearly identify the rationale, context, international relevance of topic.

Present the conceptual or theoretical framework that guided the study, and where appropriate identifying and providing an overview of the conceptual model and/or theory. Identify and define key concepts. As appropriate, explain the connections between the conceptual model or theory and the phenonema of interest. Explain connections between study variables and support those connections with relevant theoretical and empirical literature. Provide a substantial, critical review of relevant theoretical and empirical literature. Identify the rationale for selection of the phenomenon studied. Note that simply stating that the phenomenon has not yet been studied is not sufficient, as some phenomena may be trivial and, therefore, are not worthy of study. Simply stating that it has not been studied in your country is also not acceptable. You should explain the potential added value of your study to existing knowledge.

State the aims of the study as a narrative study purpose or as research questions, for example, ‘The aim of the study was to…’ If the study is about the ‘experience’ of a particular phenomenon, be as clear as possible about the aspect/s of the experience on which you wish to focus.

State a research question(s) appropriate for the methodology..

Describe research design, for example, grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography.

Identify the specific purposeful sampling strategy/strategies used–theoretical, maximum variation, extreme case. For example, ‘A sample of Registered Nurses was recruited using maximum variation sampling for number of years of nursing experience.’ 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 provide justification for participant numbers that addresses data saturation or another criterion. Detail of participants (gender, age, condition, peculiarities etc.), which can help readers to put the finding in context, should be provided. This can be listed in a table.

Data collection
Use subheadings for different types of data collection techniques if appropriate, e.g., interview guides, observation checklists. For example, ‘Data were collected using an interview guide…’, ‘Focus groups were conducted …’. Describe each technique used to collect the data, such as interview guide questions, or observation checklist items. Include information about number and type of items and scoring technique, as well as interpretation of scores, if relevant. Pilot study – if done, what changes (if any) did this lead to for the main study?. Identify the period of data collection (e.g. between November 2008 - June 2009); usually this should be no more than 5 years before submission of the manuscript.

Ethical considerations
Identify any particular ethical issues that were attached to this research. Remember that there are specific ethical issues related to specific methods (e.g. interviews, observations). 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.

Data analysis
Describe the techniques used to analyse the data, including computer software used, if appropriate. For example, ‘The data were analysed using NVivo Version X. The data were analysed using thematic content analysis…’.

Validity and reliability/Rigour
Describe procedures for assuring trustworthiness of qualitative data, including types of dependability and credibility used. If tools were developed for this study, describe the processes employed. Please ensure that you make reference to the literature on qualitative rigour in this section.

Start with a description of the actual sample. For example: ‘The study participants ranged in age from X to Y years…’

Present findings explicitly for each study aim or research question.

Use subheadings as appropriate.

Provide a brief summary of the findings. This should include the themes, stages or patterns (as appropriate). Then explain how each theme emerged and what each consists of (with relevant quotes from participants). Explain how the themes interrelate to produce a conceptual or theoretical understanding of the phenomenon you studied.

When using extracts of data from your study to illustrate a theme, ensure that you provide some way for the reader to link this to your participants. This could be by linking a table of demographics and pseudonyms to the data you use in the findings section. This enables the reader to link the words of the participant to their demographic details. It also allows the reader to judge how many of your participants are used in the findings and also that there is not, for example, over reliance on a small group of participants.

If your sample consisted of different groups (e.g. patients and nurses or nurses of different grades and position), the findings should reflect each of the groups.

When two or more methods (e.g. interviews and observations) are used in the same study, you should ensure that findings of both methods are reported adequately.

Use the literature in the findings section only if it informs or extends your analysis, not that it merely confirms what you found. This can be done in the discussion section.

Discussion must be in relation to the literature. Do previous research findings match or differ from yours? Do not use literature which only supports your findings.

Draw conclusions about what new knowledge has emerged from the study. For example, this new knowledge could contribute to new conceptualisations or question existing ones; it could lead to the development of tentative/substantive theories (or even hypotheses), it could advance/question existing theories or provide methodological insights, or it could provide data that could lead to improvements in practice.

End with study limitations including but not confined to sampling considerations, trustworthiness and transferability of the findings.

Provide real conclusions, not just a summary/repetition of the findings.

Draw conclusions about the adequacy of the theory in relation to the data. Indicate whether the data supported or refuted the theory. Indicate whether the conceptual model was a useful and adequate guide for the study.

Identify implications/recommendations for practice/research/education/management or policy as appropriate, and consistent with the limitations.