1. Olson, DaiWai M. Editor

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While at a nursing conference, I attended back-to-back presentations where speakers discussed published manuscripts, and both referenced one article in particular. The first presenter explained why the results should not be used in neuroscience nursing by stating, "This (study) was only healthy volunteers, so we can't use this as evidence." Barely an hour later, a second presenter referred to the same study, stating, "This is something we should be doing for our patients."

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Wait![horizontal ellipsis] What?[horizontal ellipsis] Who is right, and who is wrong?


The truth is that both presenters have defensible positions. As consumers of research, we are all responsible for weighing the evidence. In fact, most professional nursing programs have a course during which students are asked to critically review an article. Ah, yes! I still remember my first critique with glee. Finding every flaw and identifying all the potential sources of bias. I had so much fun that I almost ran out of red ink. But, that was in the 80s; I was young, I was in college, and[horizontal ellipsis]well[horizontal ellipsis]we all do stuff in college that we are not so proud of later.


Don't get me wrong, I got an "A," and I still think that we should be critical of the evidence. However, what I lacked in my youth was an understanding of balance.


Most researchers struggle to find the right balance. They have to balance internal validity and external validity. They have to balance between what they really want to do and what they can afford to do. They have to balance between a perfect study that will take 10 years to complete and a good study that can be done in a few months. Long before a study gets published, the study team has made vital decisions.


This issue of Journal of Neuroscience Nursing has several research articles, and while I encourage you to be critical as you evaluate the evidence, I also encourage you to seek a little balance. And, I have provided a little help. In this issue, pay special attention to the article by Buelow, Hinkle, and McNett entitled "Reliability and Validity for Neuroscience Nurses." This article is designed to help you navigate through some tough questions. After reading this article, put these new tools into practice as you read the other articles in the journal.


Instead of just being a passive reader, try to imagine yourself as the researcher. What are the possible decisions you have to make? Share an article with colleagues at your next journal club. Debate the pros and the cons. Find the flaws, find the gems, and find the balance.

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