Quality improvement is an important concern for any organization toward the continuous success of its business. Healthcare, in particular, is an area that highly demands continuous improvement. For the purpose of quality improvement, information on the services has to be obtained. Research and the evaluation are largely applied and are considered as excellent information providers for the purposes of quality improvement and implementation in either health care industry or other industries. The main methods used in evaluation and research can be classified into two main categories they are: the qualitative and quantitative research methods. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are equally important in quality improvement of health care as they complement each other. In the next few pages, we will briefly discuss the main methods of research, measurement and evaluation appropriate to quality in health care.
Qualitative Research Methods:
Qualitative research methods are very important as they considered a complementary to the quantitative research ones; they are used to offer researchers and evaluators with additional information that may nourish their research requirement. Qualitative research is concerned with exploring and understanding people's beliefs, experiences, attitudes, behaviour and interactions and does not result in numerical data, e.g. a patient's description of their pain rather than a measure of pain. It is well appreciated that the qualitative research methods have traditionally been employed in the social sciences. Due to that reason there may be a kind of unfamiliarity to health care professionals and researchers with a biomedical or natural science background.
As mentioned earlier, quantitative and qualitative approaches can be complementary each other, where qualitative research will guide the quantitative research (i.e. help in generate hypothesis...