Preliminary Evaluation of the Learning Outcome Achieved by a Nursing Research Seminar Course for Doctoral Students

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Abstract

Educational evaluation is a priority policy of the Ministry of Education and student learning outcome is an important criterion used in educational evaluation work. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the learning outcome of a newly developed course for doctoral students entitled, Nursing Research Seminar. The course was one semester in length and required students to attend 2 hours of class per week. Student learning outcome was evaluated based on the level of understanding students had of course objectives. The six objectives of this course were: evaluating and integrating research papers; enhancing critical thinking skills; gaining an in-depth understanding of the literature related to topics of interest; enhancing ability to construct research proposals; guiding student dissertation work; and refining critical research skills. Data were collected from the responses provided by 25 students on a 5-point Likert-type evaluation form based on course objectives filled out during the last class of the semester. Descriptive and non-parametric statistics were adopted. Results showed: (1) The average post-course score (24.76 ± 2.89) was significantly higher than the pre-course score (18.40 ± 5.52); (2) Students realized significant improvements in all six objectives at the end of the course; (3) There were statistically significant differences in improvement scores in all six objectives for students in different years of their doctoral program; (4) The lower the year in the program, the higher the improvement scores for each course objective; (5) The two objectives of the six that saw the most significant improvements were “gaining an in-depth understanding of the literature related to topics of interest”, and “enhancing critical thinking skills”. Because of the small sample size, conclusions drawn from this study should be treated as tentative. Findings provide preliminary information supporting the importance and necessity of offering the Nursing Research Seminar course to nursing doctoral students. The course provided different benefits to students at different years in the program and, overall, research results encourage that this course continue to be offered.

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