The available literature is consistent in that healthcare professionals should develop the required competencies in writing and research to succeed in solving everyday health problems and articulating detailed information, data, and thoughts in written format (Campanelli, Feterman, Keane, Lieberman, & Roberson, 2007). The present paper provides a reflective postscript of how the assignments, discussions, and peer review covered in the last eight weeks have helped me gain insight into my growth as a writer and knowledge about writing.
I selected the topic for my research paper due to an ongoing interest to solve a health problem that affects millions of people who lack the required knowledge to understand how fad diets affect their health outcomes. I also used the knowledge learned in class to develop a topic that is yet to receive much scholarly interest, thus I was sure that the outcomes of my work would be instrumental in informing the public and other relevant stakeholders about the long-term health effects of fad diets on users.
After researching the topic for eight weeks, I am deeply convinced that my research area is still attractive based on limited knowledge in the area and desire to educate the public about the dangers of fad diet. I would like to extend my knowledge of the relationship between fad diets and kidney stones, attitudinal barriers to the uptake of fad diets, and the role of mainstream media in enhancing the consumption of fad diets.
I have been able to develop my research skills in terms of understanding how to research peer-reviewed articles in various databases, how to evaluate the articles for relevancy and content, how to analyze and synthesis content for use in writing, and how to deal with with research methodology decisions. Additionally, I am now more confident in using my research skills to analyze evidence-based practices in scholarly articles and apply them in my writing.
Lastly, I can conduct my research as I am now more knowledgeable on how to develop an appropriate topic, identify the main problem, and use available scholarship and data to discuss the problem and provide viable recommendations. According to Tingen, Burnett, Murchison, and Zhu (2009), nurses should develop adequate research skills because “nursing research has a tremendous influence on the current and future professional nursing practice” (para. 1). For nurses to succeed in providing optimal care to patients, they must develop the capacity to obtain evidence by undertaking research.
I incorporated some changes into my final essay based on peer feedback. Most of the changes were related to sentence structuring, adding evidence-based content, and reformatting the paragraphs. Sentence structuring was done to enhance comprehension as some peers experienced difficulties in understanding content, while paragraphs were reformatted to achieve adequate flow and transition. Additionally, I added some evidence-based information on fad diets to support my arguments and demonstrate important research gaps in knowledge.
Reviewing the work of my classmates helped me understand that researchable problems can originate from daily occurrences and that our attitudes and value systems are important in determining our health behavior. Lastly, upon reviewing the work of my classmates, I understood other writing and research approaches used by colleagues to respond to their research problems. Specifically, I was able to understand how to relate the research problem to existing literature and how to use data to support my arguments.
Overall, it can be concluded that the assignments, discussions, and peer review covered within the last eight weeks have advanced my writing and research skills. I am now a more competent researcher with the capacity to use the materials taught in class to support critical thinking and reflective practice.
Campanelli, P.C., Feterman, R., Keane, C., Lieberman, H.J., & Roberson, D. (2007). An advanced practice psychiatric nurse’s guide to professional writing. Perspectives in Psychiatric Care, 43, 163-173. Web.
Tingen, M.S., Burnett, A.H., Murchison, R.B., & Zhu, H. (2009). The importance of nursing research. Journal of Nursing Education, 48, 167-170. Web.