Qualitative Research Appraisal

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According to Schneider, Elliot, LoBiondo-Wood & Haber (2004), qualitative research methods, search for the meaning and understanding of human experiences in a naturalistic setting. A researcher obtains subjective facts in order to explore the experiences of each participant (Schneider, Elliot, LoBiondo-Wood & Haber 2004). As a result, qualitative research is a means in which a researcher gains an insight into the participant's point of view concerning their personal experiences; in order gain an understanding of the information given. Therefore this allows a researcher to collect subjective information to create a description of the phenomenon (Vishnevsky & Beanlands 2004).

Qualitative research is a foundation of information, which can improve nursing practice by increasing empathy within nursing staff, creating a new understanding how an illness may progress and improving quality practice methods (Jacelon & O'Dell 2006). By improving practice method, nursing staff can create a new understanding of how an illness may progress; therefore nursing staff may have an increase in empathy towards patients (Jacelon & O'Dell 2006). By nursing staff gaining an understanding of empathy and how an illness can progress is beneficial to the patient, family and nursing staff.

Undertaking a qualitative research study of participants' experiences living day to day with bladder cancer can increase the knowledge, empathy and practice methods of nursing staff (Beitz & Zuzelo 2003). By having this insight and understanding of how a patient lives with this illness, nursing staff will have an increase in empathy, which will better their holistic nursing practice methods.

Qualitative research requires various methodologies. The author will compare and contrast three of the methodologies involved within qualitative research. Cultural knowledge is examined by using an ethnographic research approach (Schneider et al 2004). Anthropologists, who study humankind, developed ethnographic research.

According to Schneider et al (2004) cultural knowledge is described as knowledge that is learnt, shared and understood by every member of a group. A group refers to a number of people, more often than not greater than twenty, that share the same customs and experiences (Vishnevsky & Beanlands 2004). When conducting an ethnographic research, data is collected by the use of field notes, observation and interviews with in a naturalistic setting (Jacelon & O'Dell 2006). The use of ethnographic research can be used with in the nursing practise setting to study the interaction of a group of people with in certain environments. For example, the ethnographic study by Mantzoukas & Jasper (2004) explored the impact of organizational culture on reflective practice of a group of nurses working on the wards. The ethnographic study was aimed to provide an insight to how nurses work with in the organization on a culture, spiritual and emotional level. The cultural sample of an ethnographic study is the major difference between ethnography, phenomenology and grounded theory.

Phenomenology in qualitative research study relates to information regarding the actual experience that has been lived by individuals (Schneider et al 2004). According to Schneider et al (2004), purposeful sampling is used to choose specific individuals who have experienced the phenomena being studied. Phenomenological study differs from ethnography and grounded theory.

Phenomenological study entails a reflection of an individual's experience (not a group) and sample sizes are in most cases smaller than ethnographic studies and grounded theory (Russell & Gregory 2003). For example, a phenomenological study by Muller & Thompson (2003) was conducted to explore the personal experiences of nine people who where experiencing grief after bereavement. The researchers interviewed each person with open-ended questions and written notes and tape recordings collected the information....
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