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Nursing Research Designs and Purposes


One of the essential tasks of nursing is to achieve the highest efficiency and quality of nursing care for the population. Nursing research is based on study of various phenomena with a scientific approach. Being a nurse means being a professional, and research is one of the basic premises of a profession; therefore, nurses need to learn, follow the current scientific agenda, and create evidence-based practice. The purpose of this essay is to unleash the potential of nursing research as a significant contribution to improving medical services and thus improving the quality of health care.

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Quantitative and Qualitative Nursing Research

There are two main methods for collecting, processing, and analyzing information about individuals that can be used in nursing practice, namely quantitative and qualitative research. The purpose of quantitative research is to identify a causal relationship between two or more phenomena. One of the types of quantitative design is a correlational research design. Correlation analysis is a method of processing statistical data, which is based on studying the relationship between variables.

There are three types of variables in quantitative research: independent, dependent, and extraneous variables. Phenomena studied in nursing, such as pain, fear, stress, fatigue, sleep disturbance, are complex in structure and formed as a result of the influence of many factors. Quantitative research helps to identify these factors and then to define a framework of actions that helps to remove the source of illnesses of patients.

Qualitative research is a type of scientific research, which includes a large number of different methodological approaches and is aimed at understanding and describing the social reality of both an individual and a group as a whole. Researchers use this scientific approach to study people’s behavior, feelings, experience, knowledge, motives, values, group norms – what lies at the “core” of the social side of life. One type of qualitative analysis is a case study.

This type of research is aimed at studying the features and complexity of one particular case (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2017). In carrying out the study, it is necessary to determine the purpose of the study, a period of time, an object of the study, a type of case, geographical location, methods for collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. For instance, thanks to this type of research, a nurse can get information about the subjective experience of quitting smoking among women during pregnancy.

Sampling Method in Nursing Research

Medical researchers are usually interested in answering questions about specific patient groups. The sampling technique is widely used in nursing practice because it allows studying a selected group of the population. One of the sampling strategies used in quantitative research is random sampling, which means that each individual has an equal chance of being chosen to be surveyed (Etikan, Mussa, & Alkassim, 2016). Moreover, there are sampling strategies, such as stratified random sampling and multistage sampling. In nursing research, a sample is a group of patients who share one or some common conditions or characters; for example, a disease.

Evidence-Based Practice in Nursing Practice

The biggest challenge faced by healthcare institutions today is providing evidence-based, cost-effective, quality care that will improve practice. According to LoBiondo-Wood & Haber (2017), “evidence-based practice is the collecting, evaluation, and integration of valid research evidence, combined with clinical expertise and patient preferences” (p. 6). Dang and Dearholt (2017) posit that “evidence-based practice encourages health care providers to question practice and determine which interventions are ready to be implemented to clinical practice” (p. 3-4). Integrating evidence into practice can enhance patient outcomes; therefore, there is a need for evidence-based health care.

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Nurses are a primary part of the healthcare team, and they are responsible for patients’ safety and effectivity of health care. Due to quantitative and qualitative types of nursing research, sampling technique, and evidence-based practice, health professionals enhance their ability to provide consistent and appropriate care to their patients. Nursing research allows improving outcomes for patients while reducing the risk of adverse clinical consequences. The ability to provide assistance based on scientific evidence in nursing is significant for promoting the status of nursing profession.


Dang, D., & Dearholt, S. L. (2017). Johns Hopkins nursing evidence-based practice: Model and guidelines. 3rd ed. Indianapolis, IN: Sigma Theta Tau.

Etikan, I., Musa, S. A., & Alkassim, R. S. (2016). Comparison of convenience sampling and purposive sampling. American Journal of Theoretical and Applied Statistics, 5(1), 1-4.

LoBiondo-Wood, G., & Haber, J. (2017). Nursing research: Methods and critical appraisal for evidence-based practice. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier Health Sciences.

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