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Multi-site Research Playbook

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A practical guide to support multi-site research studies for greater impact.

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Rigorous, high-quality nursing research creates an evidence base that advances nursing practice, shapes health policy, and contributes to improving nurse, patient, and system outcomes. Yet, too often, nurse researchers conduct studies that are narrow in scope, underpowered, or lack elements such as a comparison group, thereby limiting generalizability of results and application in practice. Multi-site studies offer the opportunity to increase the rigor of research and the generalizability of findings.

Multi-site studies leverage the power of Magnet® and other research-engaged nursing organizations to conduct research across multiple units and settings. Options for research designs are expanded with larger and more diverse samples. These studies require more planning and coordination, yet also provide opportunities to increase staff engagement in the research process, grow research capacity within and among organizations, and address research questions that cannot be effectively evaluated through a single-site study.

The American Nurses Credentialing Center (ANCC), in collaboration with the ANCC Research Council, has facilitated multi-site research studies since 2010 as a strategy to increase research capacity within organizations and to help organizations credentialed through the Magnet Recognition Program® meet criterion requirements. Lessons learned from these multi-site studies have been collated into this practical research playbook, creating a road map for nurse researchers at all levels and across all types of settings.

The target audiences for this playbook are hospital and health system researchers from organizations where nurses practice, nurse administrators who lead research-engaged health care organizations, and nurse researchers from academia who partner with these entities to conduct practice-relevant nursing research. The playbook is not intended to be a comprehensive textbook for multi-site studies, but rather a practical guidebook. The hope is that readers are inspired by the contents to consider opportunities to develop multi-site studies when appropriate to their research questions.

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