Qualitative and quantitative research approaches are used to carry out studies in different fields of life. In quantitative method, a researcher conducts a study to prove a particular hypothesis. Qualitative research provides in-depth information on culture, lifestyle, attitude and values of persons or a community. However, qualitative research method is becoming increasingly important in nursing (Dodd, 2008).
In general, I am likely to believe results of a qualitative study presenting conclusions from interview or a focus group. Evidence-based practice is widely used in nursing to improve the quality of services offered in hospitals. Evidence-based practice (EBP) involves integration of best known evidence, clinical expertise and patient values. Qualitative research is widely used in generating knowledge for evidence-based practice in nursing. It addresses concerns and questions in nursing in relation to human behavior and response (Frith, & Kee, 2003). As a result, qualitative research co-relates the factors in evidence-based practice effectively compared to quantitative study. Thus, I would believe results generated from qualitative study.
In addition, qualitative researches capture a patient’s perspective of health care. This enables the care providers to understand the patient better. As a result, the views are incorporated with decisions made, to improve the healthcare policies and programs. Moreover, qualitative research method is subjective and conclusions capture feelings, beliefs and attitude of patients. Integration of patient’s views with those of caregivers produces sustainable programs and policies, thus improving the quality of services offered by nurses (Ferguson, 2004).
The main concern of qualitative study is on human behavior and attitude. Therefore in nursing, it is necessary to establish the reasons as to why patients and healthcare professionals behave in a particular way. The study focuses on feelings and experiences of a patient. It also focuses on a given sample of participants and in-depth data is collected. As a result, a researcher comes up with ideas to help him solve a particular problem (Ferguson, 2004).
Both qualitative and quantitative research methods play valuable roles in building the knowledge base of nursing profession. Each of these methods has limitations and using both to build knowledge base is important. Moreover, both methods are considered complementary and valid when applied correctly and can also be integrated. (Frith, & Kee, 2003). In nursing, the knowledge base should have information collected using quantitative method because it tests hypotheses and theories.
In addition, it determines relationships between variables and gives numerical data which is used in nursing (Frith, & Kee, 2003). The study involves experiments which are measured using clinical trials. Such experiments are important in determining the effectiveness of drugs, therapy and nutrition among other healthcare interventions (Behi, & Nolan, 1996).
Quantitative research provides credible data which is used in decision-making in nursing. The data is interpreted accurately and thoroughly tested using clinical and cohort studies by qualified statisticians (Dodd, 2008). The study establishes relationships of cause and effect; therefore, the results are used to predict occurrence of diseases and how they can be controlled. The information provided is valuable in building knowledge base in nursing (Dodd, 2008).
Qualitative research has contributed to the knowledge base of nursing. It involves a sample of targeted population and the researcher produces in-depth insight of human behavior. Qualitative study is subjective and it generates information on aspects of human experience. The information is applied in nursing especially in therapy and drug administration (Behi, & Nolan, 1996). In addition, the information is important in making decisions concerning the health and quality of life through understanding patients’ experiences.
Qualitative research has expanded the knowledge base of nursing through subjective experiences with patients. In addition, it focuses on small groups of participants with particular knowledge to establish a big picture of the situation in the community. The information is utilized in decision- making on health care services and policies. The information determines post- therapy effects in a patient (Dodd, 2008). Qualitative research has facilitated evidence-based practice in nursing. It combines the seen evidence with expertise and values of a patient to improve the health services offered by nurses.
Moreover, a researcher discovers the relationship between health beliefs and different cultures. For example, in some cultures, vaccinating children is not allowed (Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002). This is a risky behavior which can be addressed through creating awareness and educating the community. Such risks can be established through focused studies. Information collected through qualitative studies constitutes an important knowledge base in nursing. Both methods have contributed greatly to nursing (Shadish, Cook, & Campbell, 2002).
The selected article of the week applied qualitative research method. The article was useful because the topic was specific and methods of data collection were precise. The data provided in-depth findings and the conclusion was clear and descriptive. Serum albumin levels can be an independent and a dependent variable depending on the research approach. Consider the topic, “The Factors contributing to Low Serum Albumin Levels in Blood.” In this topic, ‘serum albumin levels’ is a dependent variable. The topic is associated with quantitative research where cause-effect relationships are established.
‘Serum albumin levels’ can be an independent characteristic. Consider the topic, “Serum Albumin Levels in Diabetic Patients.” The topic is associated with qualitative research method and ‘serum albumin levels’ is an independent variable (Behi, & Nolan, 1996).Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are important in nursing because of their great contribution to the knowledge base. As a result, the quality of healthcare services and programs has improved with time.
Behi, R., & Nolan, M. (1996). The basic experimental design. British Journal of Nursing, 5(9), 563-566.
Dodd, T. (2008). Quantitative and qualitative research data and their relevance to policy and practice. Nurse researcher, 15(4), 7.
Ferguson, L. (2004). External validity, generalizability and knowledge utilization. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 36(1), 16-22.
Frith, K., & Kee, C. (2003). The effect of communication on nursing student outcomes in a web-based course. The Journal of nursing education, 42(8), 350.
Shadish, W., Cook, T., & Campbell, D. (2002). Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for generalized causal inference. Boston: Houghton Mifflin.