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Potential Effects of Institutional Repositories on Nursing Research Dissemination

Sarah Jane McClung
Major Professor: 
Suzie Allard
Committee Members: 
Vandana Singh,
Martha F. Earl
May 2012

Abstract: Institutional repositories (IRs) might be important tools for nursing faculty to utilize as they have the potential to improve research dissemination on a timely basis to the nursing community at large. This topic is worth investigating because the field of nursing has been struggling for many decades to facilitate the relationship between theory and methods by transferring the knowledge gained from nursing research to the approaches used in nursing practice. The recent focus on evidence-based practice in nursing education is proof of the field’s attempts at shrinking the information gap between nurse researcher and nurse clinician. Methods for dissemination have mainly focused on oral presentations, traditional publication routes, and poster sessions. IRs are a little researched approach to dissemination for nursing research that could prove to be effective in circulating research in a more timely and less formal way.

By comparing the nursing faculty from a university that has an IR, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, with a university that does not, Virginia Commonwealth University, one can investigate if the presence of an IR helps to influence the nursing faculty’s attitudes and behaviors regarding the dissemination of their research. The presence of an IR could cause nursing faculty to be more likely to consider alternative methods of dissemination, such as open access journals, Web 2.0 applications, and submissions to the IR itself, when constructing their research dissemination strategy. These discovered attitudes and behaviors could help academic health sciences librarians evaluate how to better promote IR usage for nursing or advocate for the creation of an IR.

While the research results of this exploratory study provided many approaches for health sciences librarians to improve IR use by and promotion for nursing faculty, including providing a reminder system, educational sessions, and technical support, the results suggested that the research culture a university possesses could be the influencing factor for faculty to be more inclined to disseminate their research using open access and alternative dissemination methods rather than the presence of an IR specifically.