Research, Innovation and Practice: The role of the World Wide Web Introduction
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Research, Innovation and Practice: The role of the World Wide Web Introduction

Michael Hardey Lecturer in Sociology, Department of Sociology and Social Policy, University of Southampton

It is dangerous to predict the future but I feel safe in stating that the Internet and the World Wide Web (WWW) will become vital tools in developing innovative nursing and midwifery practice through research. One might respond that with some notable exceptions there is little evidence of this at present. Relatively few practitioners have easy access to Internet resources and the most visible representations of the WWW are in medicine and the sciences!. However this article argues that the WWW is not only a more economic way to disseminate information than the traditional printed text but that it has a particular ‘fit’ with nursing as a discipline. Hypertext is central to the power of the WWW and I suggest that it will transform the way we define ‘knowledge’ and redefine barriers such as the well known research-practice gap (see Kitson et al, 1996). The electronic-journal has a vital role to play in these changes but it is currently in its infancy. I conclude by suggesting that the WWW has much to offer nursing research and practice. Researchers and practitioners must recognise this potential and ensure that they have adequate access to its resources.

Nursing Standard. 11, 11, 1-2. doi: 10.7748/ns1996.12.11.11.1.c2431