Identifying Variables for my Study on Burnout

Restatement of the Research Problem and Research Question

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The study is founded on previous research on the prevalence of burnout among nurses, which affects their performance while necessitating their intentions to leave the profession. However, while evidence suggests a high incidence of burnout amongst nurses, evidence is limited on the disparity that exists between the burnout levels in different nursing settings. As a result, the current study investigates the possible difference in the rate of burnout between the trauma and medical-surgical nurses to customize interventions in the nursing context. To achieve this aim, the researcher will answer the study question, which indicates, is there a disparity in the rate of burnout between trauma nurses and medical-surgical nurses?

Identification of Variables

Researchers identify the critical variables that they collect data to test. The independent variable is the one that can be manipulated, changed, or controlled in a study. By performing the operations on the independent variable, the researcher can test the effect on the dependent variable. Therefore, the dependent variable is the one that the researcher tests in an empirical study (Thompson, Amatea, & Thompson, 2014). The independent variable in this study is nursing setting, either trauma nurses or medical-surgical nurses, while the dependent variable in the study is the burnout.


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The null hypothesis (H0) in a research is the hypothesis that the researcher tries to reject, disprove, or nullify. It is the opposite of the research hypothesis. In this study, the null hypothesis is that the nursing setting does not have any impact on the level of burnout that nurses experience. Conversely, the research hypothesis is the specific and testable statement regarding the potential outcome of an empirical study. The research hypothesis in this study is that nurse settings determine the level of burnout and that trauma nurses experience greater work-related stress and compassion stress than medical-surgical nurses. The hypothesis of the study is a one-tailed directional hypothesis. The reason for the nature of the hypothesis is because it predicts the type of the impact of the independent variable on the dependent variable (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014). The researcher can predict that the nurse setting will have an effect to the level of burnout amongst nurses in healthcare.

Demographic Data

The demographic data is the particular characteristics of participants in the study. For the study to investigate the level of burnout in the different nursing settings, various demographics of the participants will be collected. For instance, the gender and age of the nurse involved in the study will be recorded. Besides, the number of years the nurse has been working for the particular setting to determine the level of experience will be captured. Moreover, the researcher will collect data about the level of education and income of the participant.

The Quantitative Method

The quantitative method applicable to the study is causal-comparative research, which depends with the factor of comparison between variables. Also known as the quasi-experimental research, the design will be used to make conclusions about the cause and effect relationship. The study compares variables, where one is dependent on another (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014). The dependent variable, which is the burnout, depends on the independent variable, the nursing setting, either trauma nurses or medical-surgical nurses. The researcher seeks to establish whether the level of trauma in nursing depends on the nursing setting or not. Consequently, the intervention to address burnout can be achieved through modifying the environment to make it less stressful for nurses.

The Measurement Instruments

The measurement scale that will be used in the study is the ordinal scale given the importance and significance of the order of values. In the study, the researcher is interested in determining the level of burnout in two different nursing settings. The Copenhagen Burnout Inventory (CBI) is the instrument that the researcher will use to measure the level of burnout among the nurses. The 19-item instrument with three dimensions, which include personal burnout (six items), work-related burnout (seven items), and client-related burnout (six items) (Kristensen, Borritz, Villadsen, & Christensen, 2005) will provide the necessary information on the degree of burnout in one setting to compare with the other. The researcher will use the reported Cronbach alpha coefficients, 0.87 (personal burnout), 0.87 (work-related burnout), 0.79 (client-related burnout), and 0.94 (Burnout) (Milfont, Denny, Ameratunga, Robinson, & Merry, 2008). The results of the study will be compared to these values to determine the setting with a higher level of burnout.

Scoring the Data

The researcher will score the data on a scale of five. The measurement instrument will have questions that the respondents will answer using one of the responses on the scale. For example, the scale will be from 1-5, where 1 will stand for Never/Almost Never, 2 will go with Seldom, 3 for sometimes, 4 is often, and 5 to represent always (Kristensen, Borritz, Villadsen, & Christensen, 2005). The overall score will be calculated from the number of responses given by the participants in the nursing setting. The outcome will be compared to the two settings in order to make a conclusion.

The Sampling Plan

The data will be collected across three healthcare organizations amongst nurses working in trauma and medical-surgical settings. Therefore, the population for the study will be trauma nurses and medical-surgical nurses in the three hospitals. The researcher uses a sample of six trauma nurses and six medical-surgical nurses drawn from the three hospitals. The sampling plan will be purposive because the researcher will select nurses from the two settings in the three hospitals. The strength of the sampling plan is that it provides an easy way of obtaining the sample, while the drawback is that it might affect generalization because it is not random (Ingham-Broomfield, 2014). The inclusion criteria is for nurses working in the two settings and having worked there for more than 3 years, while the exclusion is for any nurse who does not work exclusively in the two settings.

Data Collection Plan

The researcher will reach potential participants through their emails with details about the study, including the purpose of their participation. Data will be collected using a survey that will be sent to the participants through their emails. They will respond to the questions online and send back their responses through the same channel.

Informed Consent

The participants will be informed about the purpose of the study and sign an informed consent after agreeing to participate in the study. Although the researcher will not seek permission from the Institutional Review Board (IRB), it is imperative to get a signed informed consent from the subjects. The consent shows that the participants understand the purpose of the study and voluntarily agree to participate. The consent form will also be sent online to be signed and sent back to the researcher.

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