Journal of Advanced Nursing

Cover image for Vol. 70 Issue 12

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

Impact Factor: 1.685

ISI Journal Citation Reports © Ranking: 2013: 18/105 (Nursing (Social Science)); 19/107 (Nursing (Science))

Online ISSN: 1365-2648

Protocol for a research study or systematic review


Last updated: November 2013

JAN publishes high quality funded protocols of empirical studies and systematic reviews that are relevant to the journal’s Aims & Scope and of potential value to its readership. Protocols of randomised controlled trials should follow the CONSORT guidelines and must have a trial registration number included as the last line of the abstract. The month and year of approval/funding must be mentioned in the abstract and main paper.

Papers submitted to JAN should not exceed 5000 words for the main text, including quotations but excluding the abstract, summary statement, tables and references.

Please note that JAN only publishes funded protocols. As these will have been peer-reviewed, protocols will be sent directly to an editor for a decision. Please submit a copy of the funder letter confirming the award and add a statement to the covering letter to the Editor confirming that the study/review was independently peer reviewed by the funder.


Organising your paper:

Two separate files to be created and uploaded onto ScholarOne Manuscripts:

Title page file, to include:
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

Main file, to include:
Abstract:
250 words. The abstract should include the following headings: Aim, Background, Design, Methods (include month and year of approval/funding), Discussion. The abstract should not contain abbreviations or detailed statistics.
Trial registration: for trials - list the trial registry, along with the unique identifying number.
Summary Statement: Provide 2-3 bullet points under the heading: 'Why this study or review is needed'.
Keywords: A maximum of 10, including nurses/midwives/nursing.
Main Text: To include the headings below, and references, tables and figures.

The main text of your protocol paper should include the following headings:

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

Background
Present the rationale, context and international relevance/significance of the proposed research/review. Include key literature to justify the need for the study/review. Describe relevant theoretical and conceptual frameworks that inform the study/review.

THE STUDY / REVIEW
Aim/s
State the primary aim of the study/review.
Describe research/review objectives / questions / hypothesis (es).
If using a framework to develop the study/review question describe the framework and its application (e.g. Patient problem/population, Intervention, Comparison, Outcomes - PICO)

Design / Methodology
Outline the design/methodology of the proposed study/review (include the month and year of ethical approval and/or funding).

For an empirical study

For a systematic review

Sample / Participants

Inclusion/exclusion criteria

For example:

§  State sample type – random, stratified, convenience, purposive etc

§  Describe the proposed sample size (if appropriate how calculated).

§  State inclusion/exclusion criteria for selecting/recruiting the sample

§  Include justification for the above

For example:

§  Types of studies

§  Types of participants

§  Types of intervention or study focus

§  Types of outcome measures (if appropriate)

Data collection:

§  Describe methods of data collection

Search methods:

§  Describe process of developing the search strategy and conducting the search for evidence.

§  Clarify key conceptual definitions that will inform the search strategy.

Data analysis:

§  Describe methods of data analysis.

Quality appraisal

§  Describe process for the appraisal of study quality and outcome.

§  If no quality appraisal was undertaken – state and provide justification.

 

Data abstraction:

§  Describe process/tools, what will be extracted and how data will be stored and managed (e.g. use of software package)

 

Synthesis:

§  Describe methods and processes step by step.

Ethical considerations
Identify any particular ethical issues that were attached to this research/review. For research protocols:

• If required, approval from an ethics committee should be obtained before submitting the protocol for publication. Provide a statement outlining research governance and ethics committee processes. 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.
• Briefly explain what information and guarantees will be given to participants
• Indicate what type of informed consent is proposed – written, oral, or implied

Validity and reliability / Rigour
Include statement of criteria to be used – should be appropriate to the research/review design/methodology.

DISCUSSION
Include practical or operational issues involved in performing the study/review, and any other issues linked to the study/review that do not fall within the previous headings.

Limitations
Acknowledge known or anticipated study/review limitations

CONCLUSION
If a conclusion is required, please outline the potential contribution of the study/review to policy/practice/research/education.

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