Dissemination of studies results is an important stage of nursing research that contributes to the development of nursing practice. Nursing professionals working on their studies and articles should ensure their credibility and reliability. Fain (2017) claims that every nursing inquiry should refer to other researchers’ findings to put certain discoveries in the modern nursing context. Therefore, it is essential to pay specific attention to the sources used as references.
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One of the major factors that contribute to the validity of any research is the time when it was conducted (Moule, Aveyard, & Goodman, 2016). The knowledge base is being enriched every day, and more recent data shed more light on various topics that seemed obscure or controversial previously. This approach is specifically relevant if it dwells upon innovative strategies and methods, the use of new treatment types, or medication. This paper focuses on the use of recent sources in a nursing peer-reviewed article.
To locate the article for the analysis, an Internet search was implemented. Such databases as PubMed and CINAHL were used. Nursing practice is still associated with various health issues, and diabetes treatment is one of them. Therefore, the keywords were diabetes, nursing practice, and treatment. The articles published no more than five years ago were included. Several scholarly articles were reviewed, but the articles that included many outdated sources (published over seven years ago) were not illustrative.
For example, Burch (2014) refers mainly to the sources published in the early 2000s or even in the 1990s. Hence, this study has limited credibility as the researcher attempts to apply data receive a decade ago to the present situation. Some studies, on the contrary, included more sources published within the period mentioned above, but the qualitative analysis of the use of these references showed their limited relevance to the present research.
The article under analysis deals with diabetes treatment (Kamaraj, Gandhimathi, & Ramesh, 2014). The quantitative method is used to estimate the extent to which the authors use recent studies. The number of sources used in the study is analyzed with the focus on those published between 2010 and 2014 (the year when the article was published). The qualitative method is also utilized as the use of the sources older than five years is considered. The focus is on the information referenced and its relevance to the field.
As has been mentioned above, the use of recent sources is pivotal for nursing research. Authors should refer to sources that were published during the past five years as it ensures that the employed data are up-to-date (Moule et al., 2016). There can be some cases when information can refer to some other periods. However, this approach can be used when an overview of old practices, theories, or methods is provided (Fain, 2017).
Another possible use of such old sources is associated with some practices or data that are still relevant. For instance, some practices have not undergone significant changes although they have been for years in place. Some standards and policies are used for many years or even decades, so it can be appropriate to refer to the primary source rather than cite some articles or books where these standards are only mentioned. The reader will be able to review the complete set of standards, rules, and policies rather than consider only some parts that have been referred to in other sources.
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Nevertheless, if researchers analyze the effectiveness of a method, they should refer to the most recent sources where the evaluation of similar approaches is provided. The authors should consider using sources that are no older than five years. This time is enough for peers to review the study and address its benefits and limitations. At the same time, such sources are still valid as the field is evolving at a certain pace (Moule et al., 2016).
For instance, when analyzing a new way to administer insulin, researchers should make sure that they consider the most recent data and strategies. This information should be placed in the modern context to make sure that it can add something new to the field. It is inappropriate to use outdated sources as researchers can draw invalid conclusions that may hurt nursing practice. The field will stop developing as a set of approaches will be used while no innovation will take place.
As far as the article under analysis is concerned, it is possible to note that the author follows the rhetorical advice discussed above, but there are areas of improvement. Kamaraj et al. (2014) use 17 sources in their article. Almost 60% (10 sources) of these are regarded as recent as they were published between 2010 and 2014. Slightly over 35% are sources published from 1999 to 2010. One of the sources had no date at all as the information was provided at a website (which makes approximately 5% of the sources utilized in the article under analysis).
More than half of the sources that were used are recent, which makes the article quite valid and credible. It is necessary to add that the authors try to employ the most recent data to support their research. However, to make the study credible and valid, it is better to use another ratio. It is better to resort to recent sources only although it is possible to use up to 15% of sources older than five years.
Importantly, the use of these sources should also be well-thought and grounded. It is noteworthy that one of the sources older than five years is used as the source of certain guidelines (Kamaraj et al., 2014). It was the primary source where the guidelines were initially provided and discussed. Therefore, this source cannot be regarded as outdated although it was published in the 2000s. As has been mentioned above, authors can refer to sources that can be viewed as outdated if they are concerned with some policies, standards, or regulations. Guidelines can be seen as a form of regulation that is widely used in nursing practice. Hence, this source can be utilized with no harm to the validity of the study.
The rest of the sources that are regarded as outdated are referred to when some general information is provided. For instance, the authors explain some basic peculiarities of the function of the human body (Kamaraj et al., 2014). Therefore, it is also possible to note that the sources are still quite relevant as no new functions or different features of the pancreas have been discovered since the 2000s.
It has been discussed earlier that any field is evolving at a certain pace, and it can be appropriate to use sources published a definite period. However, it is important to state that the article in question could win if these sources were replaced by newer ones. Many books and articles on the matter were published in the mid-2010s. Although the functions of organs remain the same and even researchers’ perspectives remain unchanged, it is possible to refer to sources published recently. This approach will reveal the authors’ commitment to the use of the most recent and relevant data, which is highly valued in the healthcare context.
The use of the sources that were published more than five years ago can make the article seem less valid as the focus on treatment is made. When the authors describe the existing methods of the administration of insulin, they refer to recent articles (Kamaraj et al., 2014). When some general facts are provided, the authors use older sources. It is possible to claim that this approach can undermine the validity of the study as readers can look at the dates and think that the authors refer to outdated information. In many cases, readers have a quick overview of an article when deciding whether to use it in their research. The data reviewed include abstracts and reference lists. Readers often skim reference lists to decide whether the source is credible and up-to-date.
The analysis of the article in question suggests that such a quick overview of the source would make readers think that it is too outdated. They will not analyze the use of each source published in the 2000s and the information referenced. Readers will simply try to find a source that has a more updated reference list. Therefore, to improve the credibility of the study and its usability, it could be beneficial to use sources that were published recently.
The only source that could be left is the one published in the 2000s that provides certain guidelines (Kamaraj et al., 2014). These guidelines are still employed in many settings, so the utilization of the article is justified since it is always better to use primary rather than secondary sources. Finally, it is necessary to avoid using information from websites if other sources can be found. Again, only credible websites containing common guidelines, policies, or standards can be included, which is not the case. Therefore, the article in question could be enhanced if some changes were implemented.
To sum up, it is possible to state that the article in question only partially follows the rhetorical advice as a significant part of the sources referred to can be regarded as outdated. The close analysis revealed that the vast majority of these sources still provide relevant and updated information. Nevertheless, the reference list could be improved. It is beneficial to use recent sources only or use up to 15% of sources that are not up-to-date.
At that, the topic of studies may require the use of primary sources that could be published over five years ago or even decades ago. Such sources will mainly be concerned with the description of policies, standards, theories, approaches, guidelines. All in all, nursing studies should refer to the most up-to-date information to ensure the continuous development of the field. Nursing researchers should make sure that they refer to sources that are no older than five years as this period is seen as the most optimal for nursing practice.
Burch, J. (2014). Current nursing practice by hospital-based stoma specialist nurses. British Journal of Nursing, 23(5), 31-34.
Fain, J. A. (2017). Reading, understanding, and applying nursing research. Philadelphia, PA: F. A. Davis.
Kamaraj, A., Gandhimathi, M., & Ramesh, C. (2014). Administration of insulin to type 1 diabetes-current nursing practice. International Journal of Nursing Education, 6(1), 6-9.
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Moule, P., Aveyard, H., & Goodman, M. (2016). Nursing research: An introduction. Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.