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Differentiating Types of Projects


Presentation Watch this presentation about the different types of research to determine which path you will pursue.


A Quality Improvement, or QI project is characterized by...Is a process of assessing the current environment in the effort to  increase/improve quality, safety, performance, efficiency, processes, and/or  outcomes.  Quality improvement is focused to a specific area, and may or may not  be generalizable outside the practice setting in which it was developed for.   Quality Improvement is often characterized as small scale, continuous efforts  for improvement.

  • Rapid cycle improvement
  • Assessment
  • Increased/improved quality, safety, performance, efficiency, processes,  and/or outcomes
  • Focused to a specific area, localized
  • Small scale, continuous efforts for improvement


An Evidence Based Practice, or EBP, is defined as ...Providing optimal patient care by translating the current knowledge and research  into everyday clinical practice.  It is the active pursuit of research  utilization.  Evidence based practice enables the bedside nurse the  infrastructure to access current research, clinical practice guidelines and  other pertinent information and translate that information into every day  practice for optimal patient care.

  • An application of the literature to practice
  • Translation of current knowledge
  • Active pursuit of research utilization
  • Evidence based

Cone Health follows the Iowa Model Revised. 


Nursing Research involves...Nursing research is the scientific investigation to explore, understand and  explain a variety of phenomena that is vital to the scientific foundation of  nursing; ultimately driving practice and patient care outcomes.  Essential for  nursing research is identifying the gaps in knowledge between published research  and current clinical practice, in which new knowledge can be explored and  discovered.  Scientific inquiry is at the core of nursing research, which can  encompass: clinical research, health systems and outcomes research, and nursing  education research.

  • Scientific investigation
  • Drives outcomes. 
  • Identification of knowledge gaps
  • Exploration and discovery
  • Core of nursing research

  Quality Initiative (QI) Evidence-Based Project (EBP) Research
Purpose Improve Patient Care Change Practice Generate New Knowledge
The Question How are we doing? What is the Best Practice and the evidence to support it? What...? (bigger questions)
Method PDCA Level of Evidences Qualitative Quantitative
Sample Unit level One population Patient Population Representative Larger group
Human Subjects ?IRB ?IRB Need IRB
Data Collection Evaluation Search & Appraisal Validity
Results Improve process Ongoing Impact Add to body of knowledge
Implications Process change Practice change Understanding change
Dissemination Unit/Agency Results shared locally Practice Standards Scientific community Results Published


  • Research and quality improvement: different processes, different evidence. Kring DL; MEDSURG Nursing, 2008 Jun; 17 (3): 162-9. Two sources commonly used for evidence-based practice include research findings and quality improvement (QI) reports. However, they often are implemented improperly. It is important for nurses to distinguish between research and QI. A tool for making such a distinction is presented. [Download article]
    • Use Table 1 from the article to differentiate your activity.
  • Showcasing Differences Between Quality Improvement, Evidence-Based Practice, and Research. Shirey M., Hauck S., Embree J., Kinner T., Schaar G., Phillips L., Ashby S., Swenty C., McCool I.;  J Contin Educ Nurs., 2011; 42(2) 57-68.  doi: 10.3928/00220124-20100701-01 [link] [Download article]

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