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Quantitative and Qualitative Research Designs in Healthcare

Reasons for Categorisation

The quantitative design focuses on numerical data, while qualitative designs concentrate on narrative information (Polit & Beck, 2012). The two articles in question can be seen as examples of these two types of designs.

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The quantitative research dwells upon the use of computer-based self-management of diabetes among adults suffering from diabetes mellitus type 2 (Pal et al., 2013). Pal et al. (2013) provide a particular percentage of people who benefit from the strategy. It turns out that the benefits of the use of such strategies are quite limited, with the only exception (mobile interventions have proved to be beneficial for patients). A large number of participants took part in the survey. They answered only a number of questions that presupposed yes/no answers or rated some concepts. Therefore, it is clear that the present article is an example of the use of quantitative design as only numeric information is put to the fore. The present article has been chosen as it can be seen as a good example of the use of the quantitative research method. Numerous quantitative data are provided and analysed. The results of the study show a particular rate of patients who benefit from the use of a certain treatment. People’s evaluations of the treatment were not relevant to the research.

At the same time, the other article focuses on people’s narratives, attitudes and evaluations rather than numeric information. Thus, Gask, Ludman and Schaefer (2012) focus on the treatment of depression in patients suffering from diabetes and ways to improve the interaction between patients and healthcare professionals. One of the peculiarities of qualitative research is the comparatively small number of participants involved. Thus, Gask et al. (2012) explored the issue and consulted nurses and patients in nine clinics only. Importantly, there were no surveys or questionnaires. Qualitative research implies the focus on narrative, so interviews are mainly used. Personal attitudes of people are put to the fore. People’s words are analysed. Gask et al. (2012) note that there is a lack of trust between patients and nurses that negatively affects the healing process. This research has been chosen as it is a good example of qualitative research that focuses on people’s judgments and ideas rather than some numbers and figures. The research in question also helps understand major peculiarities of the qualitative research method, including collection, presentation and analysis of data.

Strengths and Limitations of the Quantitative Research

Quantitative research has a number of strengths and limitations. One of its strengths is that it can provide numeric data to support or refute some hypotheses (Polit & Beck, 2012). In other words, this kind of research provides descriptive data that enable researchers to reveal some trends. Clearly, people may understand that there is some trend. Importantly, they can see the degree of its development with the help of numeric data. It is also important to add that quantitative research helps to generalise some theories through the provision of numeric data. This kind of research may also help researchers to make numeric predictions.

As for limitations, the quantitative research still cannot provide comprehensive data, as there are such limitations as the inability to include all stakeholders involved. At the same time, even randomly chosen samples cannot always be seen as representatives of the society or the group. Besides, researchers may often miss important trends and concepts due to their focus on the theory or hypothesis under analysis.

The present research’s strength is that it provides numeric data on the effectiveness of the use of technology in diabetes treatment. The weakness of the research is that it can be too general. It is noted that the use of technology is not very effective, but there are chances that it was used improperly, which led to such results.

Strengths and Limitations of the Qualitative Research

As for the strengths of qualitative research, this research design enables researchers to analyse an issue in depth. The researchers do not simply prove that there is a problem. They manage to discover the reasons for this or that trend or issue. This kind of research also enables researchers to understand people’s attitudes towards issues.

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As for the limitations of the qualitative research, it is possible to note that the data obtained cannot be generalised. Therefore, the focus of the research is quite narrow. Due to the peculiarities of the research, only limited numbers of participants can be involved, which also contributes to the narrowness of the qualitative research. More so, the presence of the researcher (interviewer) often has an effect on participants’ answers, while this is not that common for quantitative research. This type of design is time- and effort-consuming.

The article in question also has a number of strengths and limitations. Thus, the research provides insights into the relationships between healthcare professionals and patients. The researchers provide valuable insights into the matter as particular judgements of stakeholders are provided and analysed. At the same time, the research involves only nine clinics. The arguments mentioned by the participants may be determined by the characteristic features of the clinics (states) involved. These data can hardly be generalised though they can be still used to develop an appropriate strategy that will be effective in the mentioned clinics (other healthcare facilities can also adjust the strategies to their needs).

Reference List

Gask, L., Ludman, E., & Schaefer, J. (2012). Qualitative study of an intervention for depression among patients with diabetes: How can we optimize patient-professional interaction? Chronic Illness, 2(3), 231-42.

Pal, K., Eastwood, S.V., Michie, S., Farmer, A.J., Barnard, M.L., Peacock, R., … Murray, E. (2013). Computer-based diabetes self-management interventions for adults with type 2 diabetes mellitus. The Cochrane Library, 3, 1-148.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C.T. (2012). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Quantitative and Qualitative Research Designs in Healthcare'. 8 July.

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