1. Section Editor(s): Chinn, Peggy L. PhD, RN, FAAN
  2. Editor

Article Content


I believe that I can speak with great confidence on this point-anyone reading this issue of Advances in Nursing Science (ANS) suffers from some degree of information overload. We live in this amazing age of almost instant access to any bit of information we need and to information that we do not particularly need but that intrusively vies for our attention. Almost daily I hear someone proclaim that he or she simply cannot keep up, even with the e-mail that arrives in one of several inboxes. The level of stress experienced, and the coping mechanisms employed to deal with the stress, varies from person to person and probably from generation to generation. It is now imperative to not only find ways to deal with the volume of information but also quickly discern which information is reliable and valid and which is propaganda, unreliable, manipulative, or false.


The best admonishment I have encountered to address this challenge is "Think like a scientist!" Of course, this is not an instant litmus test to discern good information from misleading or "bad" information, but it typically leads fairly quickly to key factors that are readily available-the first being to determine the source and the evidence backing up the information. As all good scientists know, examining the basis for any claim of fact, or the logic underlying any statement of opinion, is vital to good science. A scholarly journal such as ANS maintains the process of peer review to ensure, as much as is humanly possible, that the information published in the journal has a firm foundation upon which the information is based.


But good science goes beyond the fundamental reliability and validity of information, reaching for knowledge and understanding that arise from integration of information and facts, along with the whole of human wisdom. Nursing now has a tradition of seeking not only empirical information and facts but also a sense of the whole of knowing derived from ethical, personal, aesthetic, and emancipatory interests. I believe that to "think like a scientist" requires asking not only about the veracity of the sources from which information is derived but also about the meaning, significance, and importance of that information from our ethical, personal, aesthetic, and emancipatory understanding. Good sources welcome challenge and debate that explore the perspectives within which they place both facts and opinions.


As in many other editorials and now with most of the ANS blog posts, I invite readers of ANS to participate in scholarly discourse related to the content of this issue of ANS. ANS has a long history of publishing content that challenges the status quo-challenges that are well founded and have merit scientifically and philosophically but that nonetheless require energetic debate. You can browse the ANS blog to see discussions that have emerged recently in response to ANS articles. You can follow the blog to receive a notice of posts that include messages from ANS authors about their work. We invite you to add your own comments and ideas. Doing so provides an avenue to not merely consume but also engage with ideas that are vital to the development of nursing! We hope to hear from you!


-Peggy L. Chinn, PhD, RN, FAAN