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Nursing Research and Its Impact on Practice

Nursing research has a tremendous impact on modern nursing practice. First and foremost, research helps nurses understand changes in the healthcare environment, patient populations, and legislation and provide a proper response. Knowing the basic principles of analysis allows a health practitioner to tell a biased study from a reliable one and figure out what information is to be used in daily practice. If a nurse is the one conducting research, he or she can lead the change and promote evidence-based methods both at local and state levels. The purpose of this paper is to explain qualitative and quantitative research designs, sampling techniques, and the role of research incredible nursing practice.

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Quantitative Research

Quantitative research design is essential in the nursing field due to its objectivity and reliability. This type of research allows a nurse to restructure a complex problem and operationalize a set of concepts through a limited number of variables. The quantitative analysis examines relationships between variables and can help to identify cause and effect in controlled circumstances (Davies & Hughes, 2014). One of the examples of quantitative research is a cross-sectional survey study that is characterized by the collection of data from participants’ reports. Surveys are beneficial if a researcher wishes to expose more significant trends in the chosen field of interest and save resources such as time and money.

One particular feature of survey research that nurses should be aware of is its high subjectivity, especially if some questions are vaguely worded and may cause misinterpretation (Davies & Hughes, 2014). In their practice, nurses can use inferential data from credible quantitative studies to enhance their work strategies. For instance, if a nurse knows for sure that a high percentage of senior percentage develop cardiovascular diseases, he or she can pay more attention to the said demographic and take preventive measures.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research allows a person to look beyond numerical data and explore concepts and phenomena on a deeper level. This type of research provides nurses with qualitative knowledge of the social context of human experiences (Taylor, Bogdan, & DeVault, 2015). In nursing care, there are many aspects that cannot be easily quantified, such as emotions, attitudes, and motivations. Through qualitative research that pays a lot of attention to each participant’s life story, a nurse can better understand patients’ behavior. One of the examples of qualitative research is a narrative study in which a limited number of people are interviewed on a particular topic.

The interviews are usually unstructured, and the researcher plays the role of a mediator so that each respondent feels free to share their thoughts and ideas (Taylor et al., 2015). Narrative studies can provide a nurse with valuable insights; however, he or she needs to find an appropriate guidance strategy to prevent a respondent from speaking off-topic or oversharing. If a nurse understands patients’ life experiences, he or she can choose the best therapeutic communication strategies to relieve distress and aid in following a treatment plan.

Research Sampling

Sampling can be defined as the process of recruiting participants for a study. This research stage is critical because proper sampling can eliminate bias and error. For instance, if a group is too homogenous and specific demographics are underrepresented, then the findings of this study cannot be extrapolated on broader populations. One of the sampling methods used in quantitative research is non-probability convenience sampling, in which participants are recruited based on their availability. Another standard method is purposive sampling when participants are sought after based on specific inclusion criteria. For instance, a study on the benefits of breastfeeding would require finding women who recently gave birth and chose to breastfeed.

Credible Nursing Practice

Research can help nurses realize one of the fundamental principles of health care, nonmaleficence. By improving their health literacy, medical professionals can no longer rely on habit and tradition, such as procedures normalized in a given medical facility. By reading scientific articles or conducting independent research, a nurse develops critical thinking and starts questioning whether what he or she does in their daily practice ensures patient safety (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2014). Reliable studies provide health practitioners with evidence-based practices that are grounded in valid statistical data. Thus, if a nurse concludes that some of the procedures are useless or dangerous, he or she knows a suitable replacement.

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By familiarizing themselves with the most recent medical literature, nurses enhance their health literacy and keep themselves up to date with significant events and discoveries in the scientific world. Quantitative studies provide health practitioners with objective data that can be inferred on broader populations. Qualitative studies, on the other hand, help medical professionals understand their patients better and improve their soft skills. When assessing the credibility of a scientific article, a nurse should pay attention to the sampling section and make sure that the method is appropriate and accounts for reliable findings. Independent research, as well as continuing education, is an excellent source of knowledge of evidence-based practices that ensure safety and efficiency.


Davies, M. B., & Hughes, N. (2014). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. London, UK: Macmillan International Higher Education.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2014). Nursing research-E-book: Methods and critical appraisal for evidence-based practice. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Taylor, S. J., Bogdan, R., & DeVault, M. (2015). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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