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  1. Albert, Nancy M. PhD, CCNS, CCRN, NE-BC
  2. Ludwick, Ruth PhD, RNC, CNS

Article Content

Carolyn Feher Waltz, Ora Lea Strickland, Elizabeth R. Lenz. New York: Springer; 2010. 492 pp. $60.00, ISBN#: 978-0-8261-0508-0.


The fourth edition of Measurement in Nursing and Health Research by Waltz, Strickland, and Lenz has 5 sections: Basic Principles of Measurement, Understanding Measurement Design, Measurement via the Digital World, Instrumentation and Data Collection Methods, and Measurement Issues. I have reviewed many measurement scales that were (a) not fully appropriate to the research question, (b) nonvalidated (face, content, criterion, or construct validity), (c) not previously assessed for test-retest reliability when used in longitudinal designs, and (d) not complete in terms of response options, making it difficult for the responder to make a selection regarding best choice. Often times, measurement in research seems simple; however, an inappropriately designed or nonvalidated scale could be the rationale for unexpected results that limit research finding significance. Decisions need to be made regarding format of both stem and response options, length, instructions, and wording reflecting validity and reliability. Thus, this book is an important addition to a CNSs library, especially those new to nursing research, those looking for new knowledge about principles of measurement so that they can evaluate the merit of measurement tools, or those researchers developing their own tool.


In the Basic Principles of Measurement section, there are 3 chapters. Authors discuss theory-based measures, measurement frameworks, types of measures, and reliability and validity of measures as an introduction. In the operationalizing nursing concepts chapter, terms are defined (eg, theories, concepts, conceptual framework, and operationalization of concepts used in research) and tables provide examples (and references) of indicators of concepts and theoretical and operational definitions of concepts from research literature. Furthermore, authors emphasize the need for a literature review to ensure understanding of current knowledge on a concept that is needed to construct theoretical definitions, the need to map concepts to aid in logical organization, and the need to select indicators that represent the phenomenon of interest. In the measurement theories and frameworks chapter, scales of measurement are described (nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio-level measures), and basic statistical principles and procedures are discussed, including reliability and validity of measures.


In the Understanding Measurement Design section, authors provide 4 chapters that focus on the topics: designing measurement tools and procedures, measurement reliability, measurement validity, and standard approaches to measurement that includes information on advantages and disadvantages of standardized and nonstandardized measures; development, administration, and scoring of standardized measures content; norms (statistical information that describes scores of a defined population or reference group); and measurement issues in qualitative research. The last chapter on qualitative study validity and reliability raises awareness of content that needs to be addressed during initial project planning.


In section 3, "Measurement via the Digital World," the author provides important information on using computerized data sources. The 3 chapters in this section, using existing administrative and national databases, computer-based testing, and Internet data collection, are all important themes that nurses need to better understand, especially in light of the Institute of Medicine's Future of Nursing report in 2010, which included a need for nurses to utilize databases to improve quality of care. Each chapter is short and provides an overview of information but fails to provide tables or figures that might enhance content. Furthermore, while data provided are of value, there are missing elements, such as how to ensure understanding of the quality of data in databases.


Section 4 of this book, "Instrumentation and Data Collection Methods," is the longest and contains content on observational methods, content analysis, interviews, questionnaires, the Delphi technique, visual analog scales, magnitude estimation scaling, guidelines for writing multiple-choice items, measurement of physiological variables using biomedical instrumentation (eg, oxygen saturation), measurement of biophysical data, sensitive information, and selection and use of existing instruments. For nurses in need of developing a scale, the content in this section will provide great background.


The last section discusses measurement issues, including ethics, measuring quality care, and other measurement issues, such as social desirability, process and outcome measurement, measurement of state and trait characteristics, cross-cultural measurement, and translation approaches and methods. Finally, triangulation (quantitative and qualitative methods used to answer research questions) is described briefly. In general, most sections provide many tables and figures that clarify and provide examples of content. References are plentiful and provide primary sources. Many definitions are provided, and information is presented with simple wording that new researchers can understand. Overall, this book is a wonderful shelf reference for nurse researcher mentors and investigators who may need to explain content or use content to design, test, select, and evaluate instruments and methods used in measuring nurse concepts and outcomes.


Marilyn H. Oerman, Judith C. Hayes. New York: Springer; 2010. 361 pp. $55.00, ISBN 978-0-8261-1802-8 E-book ISBN: 978-0-8261-1804-2.


The authors took on the daunting task of writing a text that is meaningful to nurses with extensive writing experience and those that have little experience. They successfully achieve that goal by providing a logical flow of chapters that are divided into 5 units, having a variety of concrete examples, and covering succinctly a variety of publication venues ranging from evidence-based and review articles to books and book chapters.


Although designed as a textbook for nursing students, especially graduate students, the text gives clear examples of how to prepare and how to write for nurses across specialties and topics whether writing about professional issues, ethics, policy, case reports, research, or evidence-based practice. The book has multiple exhibits, tables, and figures that provide exemplars for the concept under discussion. In Chapter 5, Writing Research Articles, 7 exhibits are given that illustrate details of writing different types of research articles. Exhibit 5.10 compares examples from data analysis sections for both a quantitative and a qualitative study. Exhibits 6.2 and 6.3 in Chapter 6, Review and Evidence-Based Practice Articles, show an example of a systematic review article and a meta-analysis article, respectively. However, a listing of these exhibits and table and figures would be a nice added feature in future editions.


Issues related to writing such as order of authorship, group writing, duplicate publications, and how and when to divide content for more than 1 publication are dealt with frankly and openly. One criticism of the section, however, deals with the information on students who write with faculty. This topic could have been expanded to include writing with a group where there are status differences. The student-faculty dyad is 1 example from academia, but in clinical settings, these status dyads such as clinical nurse specialist and staff nurse or manager and chief nurse officer may also need individual consideration. Second, although the topic is addressed for the student-teacher relationship, it is not clear how the student can move forward with questions when there seems to be a violation of rights. In some clinical agencies, there is a move to identify authorship guidelines and include recourse for resolving questions.


The book serves it purpose as a comprehensive textbook about writing in nursing, but it is also a solid reference text for nurses who are writing, or are considering writing, or find that they are advising nurses in settings outside of academia about writing.