Qualitative Research Article Critique.

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Qualitative research is "the investigation of phenomena, typically in an in-depth and holistic fashion, through the collection of rich narrative materials using a flexible research design" (Polit, Beck, and Hungler, 2001, p 469). Qualitative researchers focus on the descriptions and deeper meaning associated with the data collected. Another way to define qualitative research is to describe it as a type of research that involves interpreting non-numerical data. The next few pages will discuss the qualitative study report, "Having an Abortion Using Mifepristone and Home Misoprostol: A Qualitative Analysis of Women's Experiences.

The Problem.

In health care, it is important that the research data used to support clinical practices is legitimate. "Women faced with an unwanted pregnancy have to make the decision whether to terminate the pregnancy or carry to pregnancy to term. Women base their decision to have an abortion on their current life setting, even though having an abortion may conflict with their moral or religious beliefs"(Fielding, Edmunds, & Schaff, 2002). Regardless of their values and beliefs the decision is often difficult: many experience guilt, anger, anxiety, and fear (Fielding, et al, 2002).

The option of aborting the fetus by using medication instead of surgery is currently undergoing testing for efficacy and the effects on the emotional and physical well-being of the women involved. According to Fielding, et al (2002), women choose medical over surgical abortion because it is more natural, more private and less painful. The researchers wanted to understand whether women's perceptions change during the medical abortion process versus the surgical process.

Importance to Nursing.

Nurses are the first in line to advocate for patients and their rights to receive quality health care services and to have adequate education in order to make appropriate decisions regarding personal health care choices. Learning whether women are concerned about a more natural, more private and less painful process for an abortion may assist providers to identify appropriate candidates for medical abortion. Also, understanding the concerns women have towards medical abortion, the clinicians are better prepared to assist the client with appropriate education to make informed decisions. The knowledge learned from this study may also help clinicians decrease women's anxiety related to the procedure and its long term effects.

Study Purpose.

The study was conducted to determine specific needs and perceptions of patients undergoing medical abortion treatment versus the surgical abortion. The knowledge gained will provide clinicians with the ability to determine the criteria for candidates to choose this option.

Research Question.

"A qualitative researcher, believes that the world cannot be pinned down objective meanings, but that all variables must be taken into account when conducting research, including the past experiences and personalities of the researcher" (Chappell, 2000). Two open-ended questions were used in an interview of clients in order to develop a more detailed understanding of how patients view induced medical abortions. This question is broad enough for a qualitative study because personal perceptions play an important role in decision making. Personal perceptions are also as individual as taste preferences can be.

Study Design.

This study used the grounded theory approach. Grounded theory is the approach that attempts to develop a theory; however, the theory is seen to emerge from an observation of the situation in which the individuals are immersed (Oliver and Linkon, 2003). During this study the interviewers asked clients questions and observed their responses. This approach was used to permit "respondents to develop their own narratives in response to semi-structured questions. "Thus, while the researcher sets the focus, each interview has the potential to move in unexpected directions...
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