This review is on the study by Jacobson et al. (2004), "Characteristics of nursing research on race ethnicity and culture."
In any region with diverse patient populations from various racial, ethnic and cultural (REC) groups, there is a need to conduct health research relevant to these groups. Research studies are needed to identify the specific health problems and health needs of these populations, using methodological designs tailored to suit the participants from these populations (Papadopoulos & Lees, 2002). The authors of the current study decided to review nursing research studies on REC to identify the characteristics of such studies in terms of the areas of emphasis, quality of study design, sample size, etc. They aimed to identify trends in these studies and derive recommendations for future needs regarding REC studies.
The research method used by the authors was a literature review. They used the databases of 4 major journals from 1992 to 2000: Journal of Nursing Scholarship, Nursing Research, Nursing Research and Health, and Western Journal of Nursing Research. They manually screened article titles and abstracts to identify studies. The inclusion criteria were any study that analyzed data and reported findings by race, ethnicity and culture. The exclusion criteria were nursing education and brief reports. There were 167 relevant selected studies, which were classified into Descriptive, Methodological, Interventional, Experiental, and Literature Review. An abstraction guide was developed to standardize the review for each selected study. Two reviewers independently reviewed the studies and then discussed their findings to derive joint results and conclusions. Initially ten studies were reviewed as a pilot practice, after which meetings were held to develop a consistent evaluation strategy for the selected studies. A third reviewer was also present to resolve any deadlocks in the discussion of the two primary reviewers for the studies.
Results and Discussion
Among the positive findings of this research was that a significant proportion of the included studies – 34% - were examining non-Caucasians. The limitation with these studies that was commonly recognized was the communication barrier - that culturally diverse populations would not easily provide requested research information to investigators that were outsiders. Most studies were aware of the need to translate and adapt existing instruments to meet the cultural requirements of various ethnic groups.
Regarding this research area, I agree that it is very important to, at some point, review the existing literature on an issue as significant to healthcare as ethnicity and cultural background. The conclusions derived from the study should help promote better research initiatives for these populations. I agree with the study’s authors in the findings and conclusions that we need more interventional studies on ethnic groups. The current body of descriptive literature aptly describes the health-related problems in individual communities, now is the time to derive solutions for these problems through experimental interventions.
My major concern with the study is the limited number of journals chosen. Only 4 major nursing journals were selected by convenience. A more representative sample of relevant reports could have been collected by searching for specific keywords through high-quality databases such as Pubmed or Medline, and including all indexed nursing journals. This would have been my approach to conducting this study.
Jacobson, S. F., Chu, N. L., Pascucci, M. A., & Gaskins, S. W. (2004). Characteristics of Nursing Research on: Race, Ethnicity, and Culture. Journal of Multicultural Nursing and Health, 10(3), 6-12.
Papadopoulos, I., & Lees, S. (2002). Developing culturally competent researchers. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 37(3), 258-264.