Skip Nav

The difference between quantitative and qualitative research


❶If you want the gory details, I can refer you to more indepth texts. A quality is a property or an attribute that a person or an object possesses.

What is Qualitative?

NCLEX Resources
Working as a Nurse

The quantitative researcher maintains an objective, detached stance, but the qualitative researcher is considered to be the key instrument involved closely with the data collection and analysis. The statistical data of quantitative methods obtained from a great many people results in a broad, generalizable set of findings that are succinct and said to be parsimonious.

In contrast qualitative methods produce a large amount of detailed information about a smaller number of people that results in rich understanding but reduces generalizability.

Qualitative and quantitative methods involve differing strengths and weaknesses and, therefore, should be seen as alternative but not mutually exclusive strategies for research.

While many qualitative researchers do not believe that the standards used to judge quantitative methods are appropriate for evaluating qualitative research methods, they do believe that the systemic protocol of "good science" should be retained.

In qualitative research the conventional standards of reliability and internal and external validity do not apply. However, there are distinct but related aspects of inquiry on which credibility depends and any credible qualitative study needs to address all of the following in order to ensure credibility and rigor of findings:.

What is most important for the qualitative researcher is to be familiar with the different qualitative research approaches. Then, researchers can make informed choices about what they will use for their studies and why they will use them. When the comparisons and distinctions among the approaches are clear, the researcher can then design a more rigorous study.

The Spell of the Sensuous. Does Evaluation Make a Difference? Qualitative Inquiry and Research Design: Choosing Among Five Traditions. Qualitative Inquiry and the Enhancement of Education.

Upper Saddle River, NJ: A Participatory Vision of Human Spirituality. Psychology as a Human Science: Jul 2, '01 by maryb Occupation: RN - Medical Editor Joined: Without getting into the gory details How many had a PAP in the last 12 months?

Most standard annual evaluations are qualitative. Surveys how is our service? If you want the gory details, I can refer you to more indepth texts. Regarding quantitative findings, generalization is characterized by establishing universal laws for populations based on information from samples deemed to be similar to those populations, which cannot, nor is it meant to, be achieved with qualitative findings. Qualitative findings are not generalizable in the prevalent sense of the word—they do not provide laws or relationships that can be taken from a single sample and applied to entire populations.

Rather, they are generalizable in a way that is particularly pertinent to nursing practice, in which there is an expectation that scientific findings, and nursing care itself, be tailored to unique individuals in their distinct contexts. That is, qualitative findings provide idiographic knowledge about human experiences to readers , who can apply qualitative findings to the care of individuals who are in situations similar to that of those in the sample from which findings came 4.

As the above example demonstrates, a CNS who reads qualitative research can potentially gain insight into the behaviors, needs, and experiences of his or her patient population, informing CNS practice. Sandelowski 9 notes that qualitative findings can demonstrate instrumental, symbolic, and conceptual utility.

Instrumental utilization refers to the concrete application of findings that have been made into new forms such as clinical guidelines, standards of care, appraisal tools, algorithms, and intervention protocols.

Symbolic utilization is less concrete and does not result in a true practice change, but rather findings are used to legitimate a position or practice. Symbolic utilization of findings is often a precursor to instrumental utilization. Conceptual utilization is very intangible, and leads to the way in which a user thinks about providing care. Qualitative findings have demonstrated independent instrumental utility in leading to key changes in clinical communication practices.

The results of one study eventually led to the recommendation that active listening, appraisal, teaching, and social support be included in patient-family-provider communication. These findings were executed into practice directly and have led to improved outcomes A CNS could similarly directly apply qualitative findings to practice.

For example, an oncology CNS who learned, via reading qualitative research, that oncology patients prefer a certain type of communication style at the end of life could work in the nursing sphere to educate nurses and develop with them a communication guide for these particular patients. The CNS could then measure pertinent outcomes associated with the intervention patient satisfaction, for example.

Qualitative findings also demonstrate instrumental utility by refining quantitative research. Qualitative findings often underlie the concepts measured in quantitative instruments.

That is, qualitative methods can be used to investigate unexpected quantitative results or to explain why the effectiveness success of an intervention in a research study is not equal to its efficacy success of an intervention in practice. For example, qualitative findings might inform a CNS of potential reasons a particular evidence-based intervention has not been effective in his or her patient population or for a specific patient.

In effect, the experiences of patients in a certain situation as captured via qualitative methods have informed, and potentially improved, the care provided to other patients in that situation. Kearney 6 has made explicit statements regarding the ways in which qualitative findings can directly impact nursing practice.

First, findings can lead to clinical insight or empathy. Armed with this understanding, the nurse pays attention to new cues from the patient, can make sense of certain presumably aberrant behaviors, and provide support in a more informed way. Qualitative findings can also contribute to assessment of patient status or progress. Findings which portray a trajectory of illness can inform the development of clinical assessment tools for individual patients or, with further testing, a particular patient population.

Qualitative findings can also be applied via anticipatory guidance. This type of application is somewhat interventionist, as nurses share qualitative findings directly with clients, offering a research-based perspective on what patients might be experiencing and how others have described that experience. This application requires higher-complexity findings. How does one know if he or she can trust the results of a qualitative study? Unlike in quantitative research, in which there are checklists and p values available to guide such a decision, the evaluation of qualitative research is less clear-cut.

While researchers have created checklists to ease the process by which the validity of qualitative findings is assessed 13 , experts in the field struggle to come to a consensus regarding the appropriate criteria for evaluating qualitative studies because, according to Sandelowski 14 and others 15 — 16 , no criteria can uniformly address quality in the many various methods used in qualitative research.

Sandelowski and Barroso 16 prefer that the quality of qualitative studies be judged based on criteria specific to the method being used. These authors offer a reading guide , to which readers of this journal are referred, which guides readers through evaluating the features of any qualitative report most relevant to its quality and use

What is Quantitative?

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

" Quantitative research," also called "empirical research," refers to any research based on something that can be accurately and precisely measured. For example, it is possible to discover exactly how many times per second a hummingbird's wings beat and measure the corresponding effects on its physiology (heart rate, temperature, etc.).

Privacy FAQs

The difference between quantitative and qualitative research Linda Shields Professor of Nursing, University of Limerick, Ireland Alison Twycross Senior Lecturer in Children’s Nursing, Glasgow Caledonian University and Senior Nurse for Research Development, Yorkhill NHS Trust, Glasgow.

About Our Ads

What’s the difference between qualitative and quantitative approaches? Adar Ben-Eliyahu, Ph.D. In the world of research, there are two general approaches to gathering and reporting information: qualitative and quantitative approaches. The qualitative approach to research is focused on understanding a phenomenon from a closer perspective. The two main types of research methods are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research aligns with the positivist paradigm, whereas qualitative research most closely aligns itself with the naturalistic paradigm. Quantita-tive research is a formal, objective, deductive approach to problem solving.

Cookie Info

Nursing Specialties › Research Nursing › quantitative vs. qualitative. Ask a Nurse Attorney - New Addition to allnurses. how many are in childbearing years? How many had a PAP in the last 12 months? qualitative is a measurement that is more subjective, part of the root is quality. Example: Most standard annual evaluations are. Examples of qualitative methods employed in nursing research include grounded theory, phenomenology, ethnography, and qualitative description. Each method has its own assumptions and purposes and an appropriate method is .