Comparative Effectiveness Research and Its Application to Nursing Education

Claire Su-Yeon Park, Eunok Park, Mehmet Akif Ocak

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This in-depth integrative literature review aimed to investigate comparative effectiveness research (CER) methodologies applicable to nursing research and to propose a CER design relevant to nursing education. Integration and synthesis were conducted from August 20 to December 15, 2013 and from October 20 to December 05, 2015 using electronic databases and refereed published books. The key words were “comparative effectiveness research,” “education,” “patient outcomes,” “effectiveness,” “cost-effectiveness,” and “efficiency.” All selected literatures were initially scrutinized by the principal investigator in terms of scientific rigor and then synthesized on an ongoing basis. CER methodologies in nursing research were presented to be significant in terms of enabling the nursing profession’s distinctiveness to stand out. Three CER methodologies applicable to nursing research—a Pragmatic Clinical Trial, Observational Comparative Effectiveness Research and Cost Effectiveness Research—revealed each of their distinguishable strengths and weaknesses compared to the Randomized Controlled Trial. For ethical consideration, the importance of ensuring “equipoise” was identified. Lastly, in a head to head comparison of two nursing education programs, a single blind, randomized crossover study design was proposed as a type of Pragmatic Clinical Trial utilizing cost-utility analysis. Mixed method Analysis of Covariance and Doubly Multivariate Repeated Analysis of Covariance were suggested as relevant statistical analyses. Considering that CER is still inchoate in nursing research and nurse scientists’ endeavors to address the gap are urgent, this study is compelling in that it proposed a rigorous CER design not only directly applicable to nursing education, but also to other disciplines in education.

RECEIVED 9 December 2015, REVISED 31 May 2016, ACCEPTED 23 June 2016


comparative effectiveness research, equipoise, nursing education, cost-utility analysis, propensity score analysis

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Journal of Learning and Teaching in Digital Age. All rights reserved, 2016. ISSN:2458-8350