DNP 801 Discuss three critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research for a DPI Project

DNP 801 Discuss three critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research for a DPI Project

DNP 801 Discuss three critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research for a DPI Project

Critical thinking is a process that involves evaluating a collection of information from subjective and objective data, communication, and experiences that lead to actions taken to resolve an issue (Papathanasiou et al., 2014). Critical thinking plays a vital role as a DNP learner proposing a quality improvement project as it is essential to establishing a safe, efficient, and positive outcome. It is important for DNP learners to incorporate old nursing interventions and new knowledge as part of the critical thinking process to ultimately obtain a correct plan of interventions and actions. According to Buckley et al. (2020), practice projects should enable the learners to oversee nursing habits and utilize higher critical thinking skills when new processes and interventions. This is important for DNP learners because when proposing a DPI project, students should consider the current practice, new knowledge, and incorporate critical thinking to ultimately implement a process that will produce positive outcomes.

Three important components of critical thinking that are necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research include analyzing the data, applying the intervention, evaluating the outcome (Papathanasiou et al., 2014). Like the nursing process, when examining studies, it is important for the DNP learner to analyze the data to compare and validate the practice site’s issue. After a thorough analysis of the study, the DNP learner would incorporate the information and transform it into an action or implementation in hopes to correct the issue and provide outcomes. Finally, evaluating the outcomes and data plays an important role in ultimately validating the effectiveness of the project.          


Buckley, K. M., Idzik, S., Bingham, D., Windemuth, B., & Bindon, S. L. (2020). Structuring doctor of nursing practice project courses to facilitate success and ensure rigor. Journal of Professional Nursing36(4), 206–211.

Papathanasiou, I. V., Kleisiaris, C. F., Fradelos, E. C., Kakou, K., & Kourkouta, L. (2014). Critical thinking: the development of an essential skill for nursing students. Acta informatica medica : AIM : journal of the Society for Medical Informatics of Bosnia & Herzegovina : casopis Drustva za medicinsku informatiku BiH22(4), 283–286.

Critical thinking has evolved the nursing profession in establishing high measures for patient safety and outcomes. I was discussing the purpose of a DPI project with a colleague who is the director of a boys & girls club for low-income families. It amazed me that he utilizes the same concept in critical thinking to analyze data, improve processes and make changes for the children and families. The success of critical thinking assists in life-long decision making and is used amongst many departments and areas. Quantitative research explores numeric values that generates knowledge and creates understanding (Quantitative and qualitative research. What is quantitative research? n.d.). The components of critical thinking you mentioned are crucial. A study cannot be validated without analysis, application and evaluation.

Quantitative and qualitative research: What is quantitative research? Subject and Course Guides. (n.d.). Retrieved March 13, 2022, from 

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The DPI Project is supported by quantitative information through providing data and analysis to address the issue being addressed. For example, when researching articles for the project, a critical thinker wants to know how to improve a situation, process, workflow and seeks out research to support improvement. Quantitative data answers questions to critical thinking, providing answers to how many? Who was involved? What are the outcomes? How much did it cost? Collection of data includes questionnaires, pre, and post-test, observation, review of databases, and or collecting clinical data. (Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry, 2015)

DNP 801 Discuss three critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research for a DPI Project
DNP 801 Discuss three critical thinking skills necessary for evaluating and interpreting primary quantitative research for a DPI Project

Critical thinking skills are necessary for evaluating and interpreting data to include being prudent, honest in facing personal biases, diligent when seeking data. (Reilly, 2017). When researching the DPI, it is imperative to understand it’s a process using specific information, questioning processes in a disciplined manner. (Reilly, 2017). In developing PICOT-D, critical thinking skills used first is being curious about current processes surrounding your project. Open discussions with teammates, managers, and supervisors to see where there is a need. used to determine. Another process of critical thinking is seeking and analyzing data, what does it say? Does it support the gap you are trying to change or implement? Being aware, open, and honest when facing personal biases is necessary for providing a respectful safe environment in working with colleagues. (Reilly, 2017).

I have a meeting scheduled with my preceptor (assigned by my mentor)- I will be making an informal presentation regarding DPI Project and eliciting assistance with data and other information the organization has regarding a project, where they have a gap, what are current policies/plan, what do we want to achieve. How can we make this project beneficial to me, the department, the organization, and the members?  This will provide an opportunity for me to provide information, gather information, listen ask and answer questions. Using critical thinking, I need to provide answers to the department head of “what is in it for her”. (Reilly). Critical thinking and emotional intelligence are required tools when winning the support of stakeholders.

Current Plan for DPI project:

Project Site, no change

Project: Focus: Health Equity, Social Determinants of Health based on NEMT/transportation.

Population: Medicaid members of the health plan. Demographics may be more focused. (Ongoing discussion)

Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry. Evaluation methods. (2015)

Reilly, S., & Williams, D. (2017). Critical thinking. Healthcare Purchasing News41(8), 32–35.

           I am excited to see you already have your project moving forward so well in the planning stage. It seems I am still pulling a lot of research for presentation to my clinical site, along with costs and possible barriers. Since my project site is part of a larger organization, we have several Tribal Health partners who share our systems, meaning I have to connect with them all for implantation. This is where critical thinking is such a massive part of our DPI. We have to look at the entire project critically and foresee problems or barriers that may impact the solution we are trying for. An essential part of critical thinking is evaluation. (Saputra et al., 2019) Some people only see evaluation as something you do at the end of a project. However, the evaluation must start at the beginning of the planning stage. We evaluate the needs, the process in place, the possibility of change, and so much more.


Saputra, M., Joyoatmojo, S., Wardani, D., & Sangka, K. (2019). Developing critical-thinking skills through the collaboration of jigsaw model with problem-based learning model. International Journal of Instruction12(1), 1077–1094.

Critical thinking is formed when knowledge melds with experience. It is a foundational skill essential for the nursing profession, at all levels, especially with advanced degrees (Midilli & Altas, 2020). It is such an essential skill, that regulatory academic bodies in nursing, such as The National League for Nursing (NLN) and American Association of Colleges in Nursing (AACN) have made this a component for program evaluation (Zhang & Chen, 2021). It is the ability to decode, decipher and take action in various situations, even if the situation is a new experience. A nurse can draw on prior experience and knowledge to meet the needs of a patient by developing critical thinking skills. Developing critical thinking is an acquired skill that matures over time. This skill evolves and is honed, but has no definitive ending. It is an indispensable lifelong skill a nurse must develop and refine with time. 

Considering its importance, as a DNP learner, critical thinking is a necessary skill. Working on the DPI, research needs to be analyzed, synthesized, and applied to a practice problem. Applying a new intervention to the practice problem requires the learner to critically examine the problem and potential solutions. Reviewing existing research and considering possible solutions is an example of how critical thinking can help a DNP student.

Quantitative data is used to analyze the effectiveness of the intervention during the DPI project. From economics to sociology, all areas of research rely on data to understand cause and effect. Quantitative data measures variables or the degree of change. With this measurement, the researchers know if the intervention was effective or not. For research to be accurate, critical thinking skills must be employed. The research question must be clear, concise and pose a logic solution for the problem, addressing the population to be studied and the reason for being studied (Zaccagnini & Pechacek, 2021). Secondly, data collecting must be true to the research problem and proposed intervention. For the research to be accurate, the researcher must be cautious about bias that can enter research. Lastly, part of critical thinking involves reflection (The Foundation for Critical Thinking, 2019). Reflecting on the data and research findings helps the writer to reach conclusions and enter into a discussion on findings.


Midilli, T. S. & Altas, G. (2020). The relationship between critical thinking disposition and problem solving skills in nurses. International Journal of Caring Sciences, 13 (3), 1890-1897.

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Zhang, J. & Chen, B. (2021). The effect of cooperative learning on critical thinking of nursing students in clinical practicum: A quasi-experimental study. Journal of Professional Nursing, 37 (1), 177-183.

As a DNP learner critical thinking is important because it is the key element in applying evidence-based practice to improve decision making in every problem we encounter. Critical thinking is a high-level way of thinking that enhances the capacity to reflect clinical judgement among learners. According to the American Philosophical Association, critical thinking is an intentional, self-regulating judgement integrated by cognitive skills that can be grouped and subclassified in several legitimate way. There are two types critical thinking dimensions-substantive and dialogic dimensions. The substantive dimension is the action that provides reasons and evidence that support each point of view while the dialogic dimension is directed towards the analysis and integration of points of view that are contrary to our own. Nurses develop their own critical thinking to provide safe patient care and use for good clinical practices.

Critical thinking enables nurses to express higher levels in clinical reasoning, judgement, decision making and problem solving. Improving critical thinking skills is a key for better effectiveness of the interventions conducted by nurses and on the health outcomes of patients. The importance of critical thinking in nursing practice has been identified in the literature (Chang et al., 2011; Ludin, 2018). Quality improvement project at my site is important because applying critical thin king ability is necessary to help me in decision making effectively and to solve the practice problems. To improve the quality and safety of patient care leadership is one factor that helps along side by side with all the staff.

For me, the three critical thinking skills necessary to evaluate primary quantitative research are evidence, analysis and evaluation. Investigating the creativity and critical thinking is important process in analyzing the evidence of the study and research. Evidence to suggest that creativity and critical thinking are fairly independent processes was also found in study of Ling and Loh (2020). Evidence shows that clinical experience provides opportunity to enhance critical thinking through experience and observation and evidence-based practice. Analysis of the research will provide proper answers and the whole discussion of the project effectively. Evaluation will include the validity of the research and summarization of the research project.


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Critical thinking is a skill now needed for any research especially one that requires evidence to support decisions made to bring about changes in the healthcare industry. Critical thinking by my own definition based on the authors that I have read, has many layers of process and it is the ability to think outside of the box. The researcher attempts to understand every aspect of the article or evidence as well as using their personal experiences to analyze and make the best decisions from that evidence which will bring about new changes and improvement that the analyzer intends to any program but especially in the health care industry and for the patient outcomes (Melnyk, & Fineout-Overholt, 2018), (Vejar, 2021).

It is important to me as a learner who is proposing a quality improvement project (DPI project) because, according to Eslami & Maarefi, (2010) for me to be able to resolve a problem that I find, I will need to have a deeper understanding of what is going on, what is the patient problem, so that I can adequately analyze the issue and propose important life changing potential decisions that I know will affect the patient, community and the facility (In Shirazi, & Heidari, 2019).

Therefore, the three critical thinking skills needed for evaluating and interpreting quantitative research for a DPI project is first, knowledge to identify the problem. The clinical expertise of the researcher in all the areas such as the patient problem, the evidence gathered-biased and unbiased, the interventions that will be proposed in order to make a change and determine if the study is valid by following the process. Secondly, the next skill needed is to determine if the methods used are reliable by analyzing and evaluating the research or evidence and third, can the research be replicated by other researchers and get the same results that will improve patient outcomes when implemented (Melnyk, & Fineout-Overholt, 2018), (Shirazi, & Heidari, 2019).


Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2018). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. LWW.

Vejar, C. (2021). Critical Thinking: An academic Perspective. Salem Press encyclopedia.

Shirazi, F., & Heidari, S. (2019). The relationship between critical thinking skills and learning styles and academic achievement of nursing students. Journal of Nursing Research27(4), e38.