Discovering Nursing Research

Readings and Overview

Topic 1
About nursing research

Topic 2
Research and practice

Topic 3
Past to present

Topic 4
Quantitative and Qualitative

References

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TOPIC 4:
Quantitative and qualitative research conducted in nursing

  

Objective 6. Identify the different types of quantitative and qualitative research conducted in nursing.

What are similarities and differences in qualitative and quantitative research methodologies?
Both methodologies require researcher expertise, involve rigor in conducting the study, and generate scientific knowledge for nursing practice.

Characteristics of the methodologies differ as follows:

Philosophy Quantitative research is based on logical positivism
Qualitative research is naturalistic, interpretive, and humanistic
Focus Quantitative research is objective, concise, and reductionist
Qualitative research is broad, subjective, and holistic
Reasoning Quantitative research is logistic and deductive
Qualitative research is dialectic and inductive
Basis of knowing       Quantitative research is based on discovering cause-and-effect relationships
Qualitative research is based on meaning, discovery, and understanding
Theoretical focus Quantitative research tests theory
Qualitative research develops theory

What types of research are quantitative and what knowledge is generated?
Each type of quantitative research is followed by examples of general questions that nursing research questions.

  • Descriptive research describes variables
    • Asks question like:
      • What is the prevalence of the concept/ phenomenon?
      • What are characteristics of the concept/ phenomenon?
    • Examples of this type of research question are:
      • What are the sensations experienced during removal of tubes in acute postoperative patients? (Mimnaugh, Winegar, Mabrey & Davis, 1999)
      • Are social and temporal comparison processes used to facilitate emotional and functional recovery before and after coronary artery surgery? (King, Clark, & Friedman, 1999)
  • Correlational research examines the relationships among variables.
    • Asks questions like:
      • What factors are related to the concept/ phenomenon?
      • What are the relationships among the concepts/ phenomena?
    • Examples of this type research question are:
      • What is the relationship among post-MI depression and healthcare costs during the first year after a myocardial infarction? (Frasure-Smith, et al. 2000).
      • What is the relationship between hope and anxiety of individual family members of critically ill adults? (Tracy, Fowler, & Magarelli , 1999)
  • Quasi-experimental and experimental research determine cause-and-effect interactions among variables.
    • Asks questions like:
      • What is the underlying cause?
      • If phenomenon X occurs, will Y follow?
      • Does the application of an intervention result in the intended outcome?
    • Examples of this type of research question are:
      • What are the direct and indirect effects of chronic physical conditions on depression? (Vilhjalmsson, 1998)
      • Does vicarious experience through peer support have an impact on anxiety, self-efficacy expectation, and physical activity in male first-time cardiac surgery patients? (Parent & Fortin, 2000)

What types of research are qualitative and what knowledge is generated?

  • Phenomenological research seeks to describe the experience as lived by the individual
    • Examples of this type of research question are:
      • What is the role of the self in women's healing after a cardiac event? (Fleury, Sedikides, & Lunsford, 2000).
      • What are the experiences of postmenopausal women with coronary artery disease? (LaCharity, 1997).
  • Grounded theory seeks to formulate and refine a theory about a phenomena
    • An example of this type of research question is:
      • What are the experiences and needs of women with heart disease? (Murray, O'Farrell, & Huston, 2000).
  • Ethnographic research seeks to better understand culture through an in-depth study of the culture's members
    • What are the experiences of families of children with juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) from the insiders' perspective? (Britton & Moore, 2002)
  • Historical research seeks to describe or analyze events that have occurred in the past
    • An example of this type of research question is:
      • What is the evolution of public information on cardiac disease in women? (Miller & Kollauf, 2002)

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