QUALITATIVE AND QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH METHODS AND THEIR SIMILARITIES. In the world of health and science, there are two general approaches to gathering and reporting information (Jean, 2013); qualitative and quantitative research approach. In moving forward in this essay, the importance and relevance of research to modern day healthcare will be described. Scientific research is an investigation which is done in an attempt to find solution to scientific and social problems through systematic and objective analysis. Research has an incredible impact on existing and forthcoming professional nursing practice, thus, it has rendered necessary elements to educational process (Tingen et al, 2009). Rivera (2009) explains the importance of research as a supremacy of the nursing profession as its evidence determines the nursing interventions that will be practiced in addition to developing knowledge that will help the nurse to be efficient, effective and excellent in their nursing practice. Accountability and the quest for professional status has contributed to the acknowledgement that nursing needs to be knowledge centered. Exploring sources of knowledge and their contribution should be a question the profession addresses. Nurses use a diverse range of knowledge, including that from research, to make their clinical decisions and to plan care with patients (Nursing times, 2006)
Qualitative research is a natural, interpretative approach aimed at understanding the meanings which people attach to actions, decisions, beliefs, values (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003) and the data are not in form of numbers (Blaxter et al, 2006), it is also known as ‘soft science’. While quantitative research, as a ‘hard science’, refers to the step by step investigation of social hypothesis pertaining to phenomenon through statistical, mathematical or numerical data or computational techniques (Lisa, 2008). Jean (2013) noted that, qualitative research focuses on understanding a phenomenon from a closer perspective, while quantitative tends to approximate a phenomenon from a larger number of individuals. Because qualitative research is done in their environment, the researcher being under cover might be at risk. Also the results the researcher gets from the respondents will be different even though they are in the same environment or facing same event of life. For example, a nurse trying to find out the experiences of patients on the ward, using the educational status of them. The answer she gets will differ, because the educated patient will feel some things are to be done the way he thinks but the illiterate patient might think because he/she is not educated that’s way he is being treated that way.
In qualitative research, the aim is to have an idea of an underlying reasons and motivations of an event (Lisa, 2008), it tries to understand why and how an event occurred and this may create concepts to help resolve the issues according to Brookes (2007), while quantitative seeks the facts (Blaxter et al, 2006). Gall et al (2003) noted that quantitative research is usually not affected by the chosen study as this decreases the likelihoods of people’s responses or behavior not being affected. Roethlisberger and Dickson (1966) had described the Hawthorne’s effect as the phenomenon whereby participants of a behavioral study changes their actions in response to be observed. Qualitative methods are essential in primary healthcare when researchers want to make enquiries about why patients and healthcare providers act in a specific way and to focus on participant’s values, feelings, and involvements (Bowling, 2002). The similarities between quantitative and qualitative is while quantitative is mostly used to test theory, it can also be used to provide an understanding into the setting of a problem, creating ideas and/or hypotheses for findings (Blaxter et al, 2006). This is in agreement with Eliot (2010) who noted that events happen naturally in qualitative research,...
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