Nursing Research – A compilation of library resources for finding articles, books, and websites related to nursing, with a focus on nursing research.
Qualitative and Quantitative Research:
Quantitative research aims to understand the causal or correlational relationship between variables by testing hypotheses. On the other hand, qualitative research seeks to understand a phenomenon within a real-world context through interviews and observation. Each approach has its merits, and certain research topics are better suited to one of the methods. Understanding the differences between qualitative and quantitative research allows for an informed critique and analysis of research articles, considering the advantages, disadvantages, and influencing factors of each approach.
The following table highlights the main distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research. Keep in mind that these are generalizations, and some studies or articles may not fit neatly into these categories.
| Qualitative | Quantitative |
| Complexity, contextual, inductive logic, discovery, exploration | Experiment, random assignment, independent/dependent variable, causal/correlational, validity, deductive logic |
| Understand a phenomenon | Discover causal relationships or describe a phenomenon |
| Purposive sample, small | Random sample, large |
| Focus groups, interviews, field observation | Tests, surveys, questionnaires |
| Phenomenological, grounded theory, ethnographic, case study, historical/narrative research, participatory research, clinical research | Experimental, quasi-experimental, descriptive, methodological, exploratory, comparative, correlational, developmental (cross-sectional, longitudinal/prospective/cohort, retrospective/ex post facto/case control) |
It is worth noting that systematic reviews, meta-analyses, and integrative reviews are not specific designs but rather synthesize, analyze, and compare results from multiple research studies. They have some quantitative characteristics, but they are not purely qualitative or quantitative studies.
– LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2010). Nursing research: Methods and critical appraisal for evidence-based practice (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Mosby Elsevier.
– Mertens, D. M. (2010). Research and evaluation in education and psychology (3rd ed.). Los Angeles: SAGE.