Review Figure 1-3, on page 60, in Understanding Nursing Research. Why it is important to employ the highest level of available research evidence in clinical decision making?
***Levels of Research Evidence from page 60:
The strength or validity of the best research evidence in an area depends on the quality and quantity of the studies that have been conducted in an area. Quantitative studies, especially experimental studies such as the RCT, provide the strongest research evidence (see Chapter 8). Also, the replication or repeating of studies with similar methodology increases the strength of the research evidence generated. The levels of the research evidence are a continuum, with the highest quality of research evidence at one end and weakest research evidence at the other (Brown, 2014; Craig & Smyth, 2012; Melnyk & Fineout-Overholt, 2011; Figure 1-3). The systematic research reviews and meta-analyses of high-quality experimental studies provide the strongest or best research evidence for use by expert clinicians in practice. Meta-analyses and integrative reviews of quasi-experimental, experimental, and outcomes studies also provide very strong research evidence for managing practice problems. Mixed-methods systematic reviews and meta-syntheses provide quality syntheses of quantitative, qualitative, and/or mixed-methods studies. Correlational, descriptive, and qualitative studies often provide initial knowledge, which serves as a basis for generating quasi-experimental and outcomes studies (see Figure 1-3). The weakest evidence comes from expert opinions, which can include expert cliniciansâ€™ opinions or the opinions expressed in committee reports. When making a decision in your clinical practice, be sure to base that decision on the best research evidence available.FIG 1-3 Levels of Research Evidence.The levels of research evidence identified in Figure 1-3 (also included in the front cover of this text) will help you determine the quality of the evidence that is available for practice. The best research evidence generated from systematic reviews, meta-analyses, meta-syntheses, and mixed-methods systematic reviews is used to develop standardized, evidence-based guidelines for use in practice.