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Personal Hygiene: Qualitative Research

Research topic and question

This proposed qualitative research study would use the topic “Personal hygiene”. This is a broad topic that would be narrowed down to understand issues in a specific area. Within nursing care, an understanding of the various issues that contribute to disease progression due to poor personal hygiene is of critical contribution to the healthcare industry. The proposed study would attempt to answer the following research question:

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Why do we have so many infections in the healthcare industry that could be prevented by hand washing?

Phenomenology qualitative research method

The phenomenological approach would aim at illuminating the specific and identifying phenomena among the study subjects (Nicholls, 2009). Phenomenological qualitative research design will identify shared experiences of hand washing practised by the study participants. It will also dig deep to understand the variations of the experiences among the participants (Bradley, Curry & Devers, 2007). The method is suitable for this study topic because it would use interviews, discussions and observations to gain deep knowledge on the reasons why people do not adopt high personal hygiene approaches (Smith & Firth, 2011).

Issues associated with the phenomenological research

The phenomenological research method is characterized by some issues that make it difficult to initiate and complete a study. One of the issues is that the method requires a big sample size to complete in-depth studies. The other issue with the method is that it requires a lot of in-depth data gathering and analysis which make the method be very expensive to commission and execute (Nicholls, 2009).

The other qualitative methods for the research topic

Ethnography and grounded theory qualitative methods could be used to address the research topic. Ethnography qualitative method would attempt to gain the cultural aspects associated with personal hygiene, specifically hand washing among study participants. Its strength is that it defines a particular culture to investigate. Its weakness lies in subjectivity that occurs because participants from the same cultural background are used (Smith & Firth, 2011). Grounded theory method involves the analysis and interpretation of data with the aim of formulating new theories. Its main advantage is its high chances of developing new theories.

Use of questionnaires to collect data for the study

Questionnaires would be the perfect data collection instruments for the proposed study to gain in-depth knowledge on hand washing practices among study participants. Questionnaires can be administered by several people who have little knowledge on the aims and objectives of the study. These people have limited chances of manipulating the answers given by the study participants. Among all data collection methods, questionnaires have been shown to have the highest scientific validity and objectivity. The instrument of data collection is the best for this qualitative research because the results to be obtained would be quantified by research leaders or via the use of various computer software packages.

Challenges expected in the research project

The proposed qualitative research project would have funding challenges as a result of the high number of study subjects required to provide a large amount of data for in-depth analysis. The administration of the questionnaires to collect data would also be very costly because it would involve a lot of travelling. Unwillingness to provide some personal information by the study participants would imply that some questions won’t be answered.

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Strengths and weaknesses of the phenomenology method

Phenomenology methods have both advantages and disadvantages in research. One of the main advantages of the method is its high chances of leading to the development of new theories. It is also a fast and economical research method. On the other hand, the data analysis and interpretation could prove to be difficult to carry out. The method of research is not used to understand processes or actions in practical life situations (Bradley et al., 2007).


Bradley, E. H., Curry, L. A., & Devers, K. J. (2007). Qualitative data analysis for health services research: developing taxonomy, themes, and theory. Health services research, 42(4), 1758-1772.

Nicholls, D. (2009). Qualitative research: Part three-Methods. International Journal of Therapy & Rehabilitation, 16(12), 638–647.

Smith, J., & Firth, J. (2011). Qualitative data analysis: the framework approach. Nurse researcher, 18(2), 52.

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