Nicole Adams: Advancing Evidence-Based Nursing with Peer Assessment

Prof. Nicole Adams, a Clinical Associate Professor at Purdue University's School of Nursing, has implemented peer assessment in her sophomore-level Evidence-Based Practice and Nursing Research courses. Using Kritik, she enhanced students’ literacy and research skills and taught them the intrinsic value of these skills. As a result, students have adeptly applied these refined skills to interpret research findings and advance their understanding of what constitutes effective evidence-based practice in nursing.

"Students have the freedom to be very honest in their evaluations and their feedback. It really helps to learn how to provide constructive feedback. When they get that review on their feedback, “Did they actually hit those fine points of why they took points off?” or “Did they just kind of gloss over it?” and so that helps them with their communication skills and their writing skills, mastering those skills, during the grading and really having it hardwired on how to do these skills that we are teaching them just the same as we teach them other nursing skills, the skills of finding reading and evaluating research."

In this story, we will explore Prof. Adams’s best practices for implementing peer assessment in Nursing courses and get a sneak peek into her assignments and rubrics.

Download the deck and the full recording of Prof. Adam’s workshop.

Guiding Students to Study Research

Prof. Nicole Adams employs a practical approach in her nursing courses to enhance research literacy. Her methodology includes PICO question formulation, APA citation accuracy, and the use of structured rubrics, all reinforced with regular peer feedback.

1. APA Citation Mastery

The course emphasizes APA (American Psychological Association) citation mastery, a critical skill in all academic disciplines. Starting with the PICO (patient/population, intervention, comparison, outcome) questions, the primary focus is on teaching students to source and cite relevant literature accurately using APA standards. Structured rubrics provide clear guidelines, ensuring students develop a thorough understanding of APA formatting in the context of their research.

2. Uniform Research Studies and Organizational Grids

Another significant aspect involves students reading the same research studies and learning to use research grids to systematically organize information. This approach ensures a standardized learning experience, allowing students to focus on understanding and extracting relevant data from studies. Structured rubrics with expected answers continue here, providing a consistent framework for students to follow and assess research studies effectively.

3. Rubrics Enhanced with Detailed Evaluator Notes

To further aid in the learning process, rubrics are supplemented with evaluator notes. These notes provide detailed expected responses, assisting students in understanding what to look for in their peer's submissions and how to effectively critique them. This method not only helps reinforce the assignment's learning objectives but also enhances students' ability to give constructive feedback based on set expectations.

How Peer Assessment is Incorporated in Prof. Adam’s Course

In Prof. Adams used peer assessment as more than a teaching tool; it's a crucial step in mastering nursing research. Students engage deeply with their peers' work, honing their literacy skills and becoming adept at giving and receiving constructive feedback. This approach transcends typical classroom activities, serving as a practical rehearsal for the world of healthcare, where insightful feedback is as indispensable as any medical instrument.


Take a look at the assignment information and instructions Prof. Adams provided her students for the Create stage:

Prof. Adams’ guidelines for the quantitative research grid activity were clear and methodical, effectively steering students through its foundational stages. Her approach facilitated a thorough understanding of the task and encouraged active involvement and critical evaluation among students. This framework was key in enabling students to proficiently navigate through the Quantitative Research Grid activity, enhancing their analytical skills in nursing research.

Prof. Adams employed the customizable rubric builder in Kritik to craft a rubric specifically for the quantitative research grid activity. This rubric provides precise criteria and expectations, ensuring students can thoroughly comprehend and optimally benefit from the task. Her tailored approach to the rubric design played a crucial role in guiding students through the aspects of quantitative research in nursing.

Here is a peek into the success rate for Prof. Nicole Adam’s class:

Here is a look into how the rubric played a role in the Evaluate stage for this activity

In this evaluation, evaluators utilized rubric criteria to evaluate their peers' work. Students used the rubric to score creations and offer constructive written feedback, encompassing qualitative and quantitative aspects to provide detailed suggestions.

The Feedback stage enables students to view evaluations they received from peers, fostering a reciprocal feedback process. These three phases, combined with anonymity, are integral to Prof. Nicole Adams' vision for the course. The reciprocal process of giving and receiving feedback and responses fosters an environment that aligns with Prof. Adams' emphasis on fostering a collaborative learning atmosphere, encouraging the practical application of course material.

Here is a look into this process:

In this feedback example, students employ a Likert scale to assess the value of evaluators' comments, enhancing peer learning and knowledge sharing.

Prof. Nicole Adams efficiently closed the feedback loop on Kritik within just three days. This swift feedback turnaround results in notable advancements in students' writing proficiency and heightened levels of engagement.

Key Takeaways of Using Peer Assessment in Nursing Education

By integrating peer assessment into the curriculum, Prof. Adams has significantly enriched the nursing education experience at Purdue University. This innovative approach has led to three key developments: Fostering Ethical Awareness, Strengthening Research Skills and Enhancing Writing and Communication Proficiency.

1. Fostering Ethical Awareness

Prof. Adams leverages peer assessment to deepen students' understanding of research ethics. Through collaborative evaluations, students gain insights into ethical considerations in nursing research, enhancing their ability to identify and address ethical dilemmas in real-world scenarios.

2. Strengthening Research Skills

The peer assessment process is tailored to reinforce research skills. Students critically review each other's work, focusing on the accuracy of information, the relevance of sources, and the application of nursing research principles. This collaborative approach improves individual research skills and promotes a culture of continuous learning and knowledge sharing.

3. Enhancing Writing and Communication Proficiency

Prof. Adams uses peer assessment to improve students' writing and communication skills. By reviewing and providing feedback on each other's literature reviews, students refine their ability to articulate complex ideas clearly and coherently. This practice is particularly beneficial in developing skills necessary for professional documentation and effective patient communication in nursing.

Leverage Peer Assessment in Nursing Courses

With the innovative use of peer assessment in nursing education, Prof. Nicole Adams has significantly enhanced student engagement and research capabilities. By skillfully incorporating structured methodologies and peer feedback mechanisms, she has achieved her goal of teaching vital research and literacy skills and revolutionized the learning experience in her courses. Her approach ensures that students are not just passive learners but active participants in their educational journey, equipped with the essential tools for success in nursing.

Interested in seeing more such stories? Join us for our next workshop!

Nicole Adams
Nicole Adams
Purdue University
Clinical Associate Professor

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