Annette Jinks

Using mixed methods

INITIAL PERUSAL of the content of this publication did not reveal anything new. However, this book is well presented and has plenty of tables which help simplify what is often a dense subject.

An evaluation of an online numeracy assessment tool

Aim To evaluate users’ perceptions of an online numeracy assessment tool in terms of improving their numeracy and confidence in mathematical calculation.

Method A quantitative and qualitative survey evaluation was performed. An online questionnaire was sent to 695 users of the tool. A response rate of 46% was achieved. Questions posed related to three broad areas: the respondents’ mathematical qualifications and perceived level of competence, perceptions of the practice exercises and assessment, and the usability and design of the numeracy assessment tool.

Findings After accessing the online numeracy tool, 23% of users undertook additional study to enhance their numeracy; 88% passed the practice assessment first time; 66% reported that the practice calculations reduced their anxiety about the final non-medical prescribing assessment; and 96% found the tool easy to use.

Conclusion Competence in numeracy is an important skill for all healthcare professionals, including prescribers. The numeracy assessment tool enables poor numeracy skills to be identified and support provided to improve the calculation skills of clinical staff

Social research

I found Sarantakos‘s book to be a clear and straightforward guide to social research methods. The book is aimed at undergraduate level, and I am sure will appeal to students from a range of disciplines. The structure of the book reflects the different stages of the research process and as such it is easy to locate all the required sections. It introduces qualitative and quantitative approaches in a balanced way and includes sufficient detail of the philosophical roots of each of these research traditions. It was good to find simple and easy to follow accounts of the complex underpinning of a number of research approach that are popular in nursing research. Included are topics such as interpretivism, symbolic interactionism and phenomenology as well the more usually found hallmarks of positivistic-type research. While feminism and feministic research in nursing is an important subject area I did wonder if the amount of attention they received were perhaps a little unbalanced when related to the other subject areas covered. There are, however, useful sections on data collection and analysis. I found, for example, the section on grounded theory approaches to data analysis particularly good.

Analyzing Soical Science Data

The primary focus of this book is the analysis of quantitative research data. As such, its title is a little misleading as its emphasis is quantitative analysis as opposed to both quantitative and qualitative data analysis. However, the book is clearly written and gives the underpinning rationale for statistical analysis – something which is frequently omitted in similar texts.