Table 4: Qualitative studies.

Author/yearAimsParticipant selectionAssessment measuresOutcomesSuggested research

Christiansen and Bell (2010) [19]To explore impact of peer learning initiative to facilitate mutually supportive learning between student nurses. Purposively selected. . Focus group interviews. Narrative date analyzed thematically. Data collected over 18 months with 3 cohorts of students.Active support from peers can reduce negative feelings experienced by first year student nurses. It assists coping and decreases attrition rates. Peers benefited by gaining confidence and increased readiness for registered practice.Explore impact of peer learning on mentors in the workplace.

Christiansen and Jensen (2008) [33]To explore classroom-based peer learning enabling students to cultivate their modes of expression. Voluntary selection from 288 students doing third year communication course; 16 students took part in role play and 8 in focus group interview.Observations and focus groups.Provide tools that can be used in clinical practice. Students learnt from each other and appreciated being able to experience different roles.Further study on students emotional learning during periods of clinical practice.

Cooke and Moyle (2002) [27]To explore and evaluate the use of PBL over a one-month period in programme that uses CLL.130 students—100 responded to questionnaire.Open ended questionnaire. Gave more control over learning and added responsibility, promoting independent, self-directed learning. PBL was enjoyable.None mentioned.

Daley et al., (2008) [20]To evaluate a peer-tutoring approach to teaching designed to meet needs of two different levels of students. All first year and some senior students in a leadership and management course.Observations, conferences, focus groups, and journals. Multiple levels of evaluation.Assignment of higher acuity patients to first years. Confidence of weaker students increased. Better understanding of role of team member, improvement in cognitive and motor skills, increased comfort in asking questions/discussing concepts, and awareness of a future role as mentor. Additional work and formal evaluation of programme.

Horne et al. (2007) [25] To evaluate student and facilitator perspectives of hybrid model of problem-based learning. All 121 second year students and 15 facilitators. Focus group interviews and use of Fourth Generation Evaluation (nominal group technique).PBL aided development of independent learning skills, self-awareness, and confidence skills. Improved interpersonal/communication skills but depended on group collaboration and concerns about teamwork and group dynamics.Further study of effectiveness for large groups of students >100.

Loke and Chow (2007) [23]To facilitate the development of “cooperative learning” among nursing students through peer tutoring.Voluntary selection of 14 third year students as tutors and 16 second year-students as tutees. Focus groups and individual interviews at half way and end of 10-week tutoring period.Positives included enhancement of deep learning, critical thinking, problem solving, communication skills, confidence in own learning, and time management. Negatives included participants being late or feeling of not having adequate knowledge to share with one another and mismatched personalities.Further studies to examine peer-tutoring effects on students in all years.

Morris and Turnbull (2004) [26]To explore viability and value of using student nurses as teachers in inquiry-based nursing curriculum. A purposive sample of 240 student nurses (36%) participated in interviews.Focus group interviews, field notes, interviews audio-taped, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. Student nurses were uncomfortable with this method and thought it mostly inappropriate, although it may be appropriate in some circumstances. Use of parallel resource sessions in a nonfacilitated forum is problematic. Participants did not think that skills were transferable.Further research required on the use of students as teachers.

Roberts (2008) [18]To explore if students learn from each other and how, when/where this takes place.Voluntary selection of 15 students. Audio-taped conversations of students and field notes; thematic analysis.Friendships are important to learning. Peer learning in clinical practice is informal and considered part of the job. It helped students to ask questions and contribute to the ward. Students were approachable and had more time for teaching. Students valued peers in clinical setting helping each other to cope with demands of clinical practice. Replicate study with other groups of students in different locations and branches of nursing.