Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Nursing


Nurses need the expertise to analyze both qualitative and quantitative types of research. Since qualitative and quantitative research use different approaches to accomplish their mission, there is need to analyze them. The following discussion engages in critiquing qualitative and quantitative research in helping nursing understand the concepts relating to the two methods.

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In the Journal Advanced Nursing, it is portrayed that qualitative research promotes subjectivity. Quantitative research, on the other hand, is known to promote objectivity (Hoye, 2007). However, qualitative research relies on subjectivity, hence leading to limitations. One of the limitations is the lack of objectivity. This results in unreasonable generalizations. In addition, subjective data results in problems during analysis and interpretation stages. Grouping the individual data into one group is rather tiring and time-consuming. Thus, it calls for a universal study of the particular phenomenon. Regarding literature review, qualitative research follows a naturalistic approach. This is because the researcher thinks about the research participants construct multiple realities (Tobin, 2004). The methods used in qualitative research focus on the feelings and attitudes of the participants. However, quantitative research deals with the statistics of the findings.

In the qualitative research, literature review stage comes before data collection step. The action of bringing the literature review a step before the data collection stage is significant in enabling the researcher to comprehend the topic and arrange for the data collection phase (Fossey, 2002). However, data collection should come before literature review as it is with the quantitative research.

This enables the researcher to analyze and compare data easily. The grounded theory gives that collecting data before carrying out a literature review leads to the generation of theory from the collected data. However, this trend cannot be experienced by qualitative research since its starts with literature review before proceeding to data collection phase, thereby encouraging the culture of extracting data from theory.

The qualitative research in the Journal Advanced Nursing depended on the soft data (Vishnevsky, 2004). Soft data has an advantage in that it can be collected easily from the feelings and attitudes of the participants. However, the limitation of soft data is that it can be manipulated easily. The researcher can experience manipulation by collecting information which is attractive to him.

The sample size in qualitative research is small. This is to avoid the repercussions of generalization when having a large number of respondents as in quantitative research (Valente, 2003). Small samples are hectic to deal with since there is lack of generalizations. In the quantitative research, most of the analysis in the data collection stage is made efficient since the large size of the sample is easily grouped to make interpretations.

Upon looking at the methodology of data collection, the qualitative method uses interviews and observations. Most of the interviews are unstructured, hence this type research can be said to collect much information. However, Valente (2003) in the Journal of Nursing Care Quality argue that the weakness of this approach is that it gets unnecessary information thereby lacking credibility and reliability.

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Relating to ethical considerations, ethical issues are found in the qualitative research. This is because the interviewers know the respondents (Denzin, 2003). Thus, interviewers must promise the respondents that their information would remain confidential. The signing of consent forms is use to validate the exercise. Thus, ethical dilemmas make the research unreliable since respondents can choose not to trust the interviewer and give false information.


In conclusion, it can be argued that the Journal of Advanced Nursing used qualitative research that is subjected to criticism. Such criticisms comprise ethical dilemmas, methodological complications, and sampling-related problems. However, qualitative research remains one of the important methods to use to conduct research in nursing.


Denzin, N. (2003). Strategies of Qualitative Inquiry. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications.

Fossey, E. (2002). Understanding and evaluating qualitative research. Austria N Z J Psychiatry 36(6), 32–717.

Hoye, S, (2007). Methodological Aspects of Rigor in Qualitative Nursing Research on Families Involved in Intensive Care Units: a Literature Review. Nurs Health Sci 9(1), 8–61.

Tobin, G. (2004). Methodological Rigour Within a Qualitative Framework. J Adv Nurs. 48(4), 96–388.

Valente, S. (2003). Research dissemination and utilization: Improving care at the bedside. J Nurs Care Quality. 18(2), 21–114.

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Vishnevsky, T. (2004). Qualitative Research. Nephrol Nurs J. 31(2), 8–234.

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