All nurse researchers need to address, in the manner most appropriate to their research methodology, issues of quality related to their research material. This concern is not about the care needed in generating data, rather it relates to understanding and evaluating material that already exists. This article describes four historical sources relevant to the history of nursing in New Zealand and uses them to explain how nurse researchers can evaluate their research material. The dimensions of this evaluation are the provenance, purpose, context, veracity and usefulness of the historical sources. The article explains the questions that need to be addressed in each dimension of the evaluation. The different kinds of information available in the four historical sources are illustrated by references to individual nurses
The development of research capability in New Zealand nursing can be seen particularly from the 1970s onwards. However, by analysing past issues of Kai Tiaki - the country's longstanding nursing journal - over the five decades following its establishment in 1908, the present authors identified two precursors to this later stage. The journal fostered nurses' awareness of research and consistently promoted nursing scholarship. Successive editors developed nurses' capability in writing about their practice by publishing case studies, the winning essays in competitions run jointly with the professional association and nursing schools, and nurses' articles on practice or professional issues. Although promotion of research awareness and nursing scholarship were not deliberate strategies to develop nursing research capability, they were necessary forerunners to it.