What is research?

Research is a systematic process used to develop new knowledge. It is often undertaken when no evidence, weak, conflicting, or incomplete evidence is returned during the search phase of an EBP project. Research requires approval by an institutional review board (IRB) as the intent is to generalize knowledge beyond the usual care of the patient or setting. Research can impose additional risks or burdens not experienced in usual care and the "subject" has the ethical right to decide if they want to participate.

How do I get involved in research?

Nurses who are interested in conducting nursing research can participate in a research study as a principal investigator (PI) or a co-investigator (co-I). A principal investigator is the person in charge of a research project. The PI is responsible for creating the study protocol, following the study protocol, analyzing study data, and reporting the study findings. In order for a nurse to be eligible to be a PI, the nurse must meet the following criteria:

  • Master of Science in Nursing or doctoral-prepared
  • Minimum one-year non-trainee work experience within the Johns Hopkins Health System
  • Letter of endorsement from Director of Nursing or designee confirming employment in good standing
  • Evidence of prior research experience as a co-investigator (co-I) on at least one IRB-approved human subjects research study

Co-investigators assist the principal investigator in the management of a research project. There can be any number of co-investigators supporting a PI.

All PIs and Co-Is are required to complete online IRB compliance training prior to submission of a human subjects research eIRB application. If the required courses have not been completed by the PI and all study team members prior to submission of the application, the application will be returned to the PI. The required compliance training courses include: Basic Human Subjects Research, Conflict of Interest and Commitment, Health Privacy Issues for Researchers, and Clinical Research Billing Orientation.

PIs must also complete Research Ethics Workshops about Responsibilities and Duties of Scientists (REWards) training. REWards combines in-person lectures and small group discussions to provide practical information on the ethical issues involved in research protocol development and implementation. Training must be completed within one year from the date of your first eIRB protocol submission as a PI. The course is only offered a few times a year. Be sure to register for an upcoming course as soon as it is available to ensure your access to eIRB will not be restricted. To register, contact the Office of Continuing Medical Education.

For more information, visit the IRB website and review the Nursing Research policy.

Where should I start?

First, contact us! All nurse initiated research studies require an approval letter from the nurse scientist. We will review your request and provide you with an approval letter, if eligible.

After you reach out to the Center for Nursing Inquiry, your project will need to be submitted to the Institutional Review Board (IRB). The IRB supports human subjects research across the Johns Hopkins School of Medicine, Johns Hopkins School of Nursing, and the Johns Hopkins Health System. The IRB determines that:

  1. the rights and welfare of the research subjects are protected adequately
  2. the risks to subjects are outweighed by the potential benefits of the research
  3. the selection of subjects is equitable, and
  4. informed consent will be obtained and, when appropriate, documented.

To submit your research project to the IRB, complete the appropriate application form. Most nursing research will use eFormA.

If your research project needs nursing resources or support, then a Nursing Resources Form will also need to be completed and uploaded to your submission. This helps protect nursing staff and ensures that their time, energy and efforts are being allocated in a productive and useful way.

Who can help me?

The Center for Nursing Inquiry can help you with research question creation, data management, and statistical analyses plans. We can even proof read your study protocol - which can be a huge asset, since study protocols are usually long and cumbersome! In addition, our Inquiry Toolkit includes commonly used research tools: SAFE desktop, SPSS, Qualtrics, SlicerDicer, and TriNetX.

The Institutional Review Board (IRB) offers useful tutorials to help guide PIs and study team members through the electronic application system (eIRB). We strongly encourage new PIs and team members watch the tutorials. The IRB also offers templates for commonly used research forms, such as informed consent and HIPPA authorization.

The Institute for Clinical Translational Research (ICTR) is a National Institutes of Health (NIH) supported center that provides a wide array of consultation and resources to assist Hopkins researchers with their work, such as biostatistics consulting, study design consulting, ethics consulting, and more. To utilize the ICTR’s numerous services, submit a connection request

There are seven Patient and Family Advisory Councils (PFAC) at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, comprised of patients, family members and hospital staff. Patients and their families are knowledgeable members of the care team and can offer unique perspectives and valuable feedback about their experience at a hospital. If your project will impact the patient experience, you may want to reach out to the appropriate PFAC.

When do I share my work?

Your project is complete. Now what? It’s time to share your project with the scholarly community.

To prepare your research project for publication, use the Enhancing the Quality and Transparency of Health Research (EQUATOR) network. The EQUATOR network is an international initiative working to improve transparency and reliability in research. It provides reporting guidelines for the main study types.

You can also present your project at a local, regional, or national conference. Poster and podium presentation templates are available in our Inquiry Toolkit.

To learn more about sharing your project, check out our Abstract & Manuscript Writing webinar and our Poster & Podium Presentations webinar!

Submit Your Project

Do you have an idea for a research project?