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  1. Fleming, Eileen MSN, RN
  2. Hazelett, Susan MS, BSN, RN
  3. Brunt, Barbara MA, RNBC


The Nursing Research Committee at a community teaching hospital conducted a research study on alternatives to restraints in a confused population. The authors describe the process this committee used to successfully conduct the study, from starting a research focus group and setting goals to choosing a research topic, designing the study, and collecting data. Critical success factors for completing research by committee are described.


Involvement of nursing staff in research activities offers many advantages to healthcare institutions, including increased professionalism, improved staff retention, better patient outcomes, and evidence-based nursing practice. However, barriers to participating in research projects for nursing staff typically are lack of time, resources, and expertise necessary for the successful completion of the project. 1 One remedy to such problems is to design and conduct research projects by committee. The composition of a research committee can play a pivotal role in the success or failure of these endeavors.


In contrast to previously described ad hoc research committees, a committee composed of members of an established nursing research committee (NRSC) may be more likely to successfully complete a research project for many reasons. These reasons include:


1. Members have demonstrated commitment to nursing research.


2. The NRSC meets regularly so it is difficult to simply forget about the study.


3. The committee is likely to possess a high level of research expertise.


4. Committee members are familiar with institutional research processes (eg, Institutional Review Board process and approval)


5. Committee members often represent a broad spectrum of nursing expertise (eg, administrators, managers, staff nurses, research nurses).


6. Many of the pitfalls commonly associated with the formation of a new group can be avoided.



Conducting research by committee may also prove to be a cost-effective way for institutions to meet their research needs rather than hiring researchers to conduct individual projects.


Numerous potential pitfalls are associated with conducting research by committee. For example, Clark et al 2 identified numerous changes in primary investigator as an impediment. Because we shared principal investigator (PI) duties among all members of the NRSC, we avoided this problem. Another problem associated with a project conducted by committee could be the lack of quality control over study protocols. We avoided this problem by pre-testing all data collection forms and performing training and determining inter-rater reliability for all data collectors.


The purpose of this article is to describe the successful design and implementation of a pilot research project using a subcommittee of this institution's NRSC as the principal investigators and involving staff nurses in evidence-based practice. Other NRSCs or administrators interested in encouraging committee research endeavors can replicate the techniques described.