How to write a nursing essay on Foundations and Essentials in Nursing Module 3

How to write a nursing essay on Foundations and Essentials in Nursing Module 3

Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research Methods

Quantitative research is an approach to explaining phenomena by collecting and analyzing data. It is a formal, objective, systematic process that is implemented to obtain numerical data to answer research questions (Gray & Grove, 2020). Quantitative research is thought to be empirical because it is observed and measured in some way. For example, researchers might want to know the number of high school dropouts as a result of poverty. This type of research will require counting or measuring the dropout rate and analyzing data to come up with results. Additionally, the researchers can use advanced and powerful statistical tests to ensure the results have strong relationships. Quantitative research, therefore, is used to describe variables, examine relationships, and determine the cause-and-effect relationships between variables.

Qualitative research is another approach used to gain a deeper understanding of an event, organization, or culture. Gray and Grove (2020) define this method as an approach used to describe life experiences, cultures, and social processes. The uniqueness of this method lies in the ability to gain insights without measuring or analyzing concepts. While the traditional quantitative research approach looks for something specific, the qualitative approach focuses on meaning, themes, and data that emerge from studies. For example, researchers may want to understand why male patients visit the emergency room less frequently than their female counterparts. The best way to understand this phenomenon is to personally interact with men to understand their perspectives and generate meaning from their views. Qualitative research allows researchers to explore the depth, richness, and complexity inherent in human beings.

Quantitative and qualitative research differ in many aspects including the main focus of the study. Quantitative research is usually concise and reductionist, meaning, various parts are broken down so that they can be examined. During the research, researchers remain detached from the study so that they cannot influence outcomes. On the other hand, qualitative approaches are broad and they intend to generate meaning about phenomena from a naturalistic perspective (Gray & Grove, 2020). Unlike the quantitative approach where researchers distance themselves, qualitative researchers actively use their personal values and perceptions to influence outcomes. The approach used in quantitative research makes it possible to test a theory by analyzing the validity of relationships. Qualitative researchers may also identify possible relationships between concepts and relational statements generated can be used to further develop and extend theories.

The use of control groups during quantitative research is common to identify and limit the problem to be researched. The aim is to demonstrate that one variable can lead to different observations among the control and study groups (Gray & Grove, 2020). For example, research to investigate the importance of exercise to reduce obesity can best be investigated quantitatively. In the study group, the researcher can educate participants on exercises like yoga, running, and weight lifting. The control group, on the other hand, is not given any education and the results can clearly indicate if exercise is effective in reducing obesity. Another distinct aspect between the two methods is the research designs used. Quantitative research uses structured interviews, questionnaires, observations, scales, and physiological measures (Gray & Grove, 2020). Qualitative research is best conducted using unstructured interviews, observations, and focus groups. Overall, quantitative research is descriptive and uses correlational, experimental, or quasi-experimental designs. Qualitative research is phenomenological and uses grounded theory, ethnographic, exploratory, and historical research approaches.

Mixed methods research is another approach to explaining phenomena that intentionally combines or integrates qualitative and quantitative methods (Mondal et al., 2018). Based on the purpose of the study, the researchers may focus on one method more than the other. Mixed methods research is used to answer questions that cannot be answered using a single method. For example, mixed methods research can be used to determine how the frequency of hospital readmissions affects perceptions of patient safety. In this scenario, the frequency of hospital readmissions will be investigated using a quantitative approach and later perceptions on patient safety investigated qualitatively. Mixed methods research is conducted using designs like convergent parallel, embedded, explanatory, and exploratory sequential approaches.

Research design for Dissertation

I will prefer to use a qualitative research design to complete my dissertation over other methods. Qualitative research allows collecting data that is non-numerical and allows the researcher to make decisions based on detailed insight (Gray & Grove, 2020). I would prefer to use this approach because whatever method chooses, a large amount of data will be generated. Qualitative research works toward solving complex issues that could not be explained using statistical values. The quantitative research design only focuses on specific, narrow areas while qualitative research paints a wider, complete picture (Mondal et al., 2018). Another reason that I will want to use this method is that it gives rare phenomena the same level of attention as more common phenomena. I will use this method to address healthcare issues because it is based on the participant’s view of the world, rather than a world created by researchers in quantitative designs.


Gray, J. R., Grove, S. K. (2020). Burns and Grove’s the practice of nursing research: Appraisal, synthesis, and generation of evidence (9th ed.). Elsevier.

Mondal, P., Mondal, S., & Shibpur, W. B. I. (2018). Quantitative and qualitative research: A mixed method approach in educational science. International Journal of Technical Research & Science3, 1-14.

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