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Research Designs and Sampling in Nursing Practice


The primary role of nurses is to take care of patients, but the scope of practice has expanded to address emerging needs. Research is one of the areas that have emerged and it contributes significantly to the overall care provision. In nursing, research is needed to advance the practice, shape policy, and improve health locally, nationally, and internationally. Therefore, nurses should understand the basic principles of research as a way of being prepared to contribute to the practice and advance their careers. The purpose of this paper is to discuss quantitative and qualitative types of research, the concept of sampling, and the application of the same in the nursing practice.

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Quantitative Research

Quantitative research uses numeric data to derive important information from a given scenario. This type of research is important because the results obtained are highly reliable and objective. In addition, using statistics, researchers could generalize findings if the sample size is inclusive and large enough. Quantitative research also establishes the relationship between variables to identify cause and effect especially in highly controlled environments (Bressan et al., 2017). Finally, this form of research is used to test hypotheses with reduced subjectivity of the researchers.

One of the many types of quantitative research is correlational research. The main feature of this research design is the need to determine the relationship between two variables. Therefore, the effects of one variable are assessed to determine how they affect the other variable. Compiled data is analyzed statistically to draw conclusions.

Quantitative research could help improve nursing practice by facilitating patient satisfaction studies, market surveys, and pain and discomfort surveys. For instance, nurses could use this type of research to establish patient satisfaction based on the care services provided. The results obtained would be factual and reliable due to the maximization of dependent variables based on independents.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research focuses on the way people interpret their experiences to make sense of them within the context of the world in which they live. This form of research is important because it uses the lived experiences of both nurses and patients to create a holistic approach to nursing care (Squires & Dorsen, 2018).

One type of qualitative research is a phenomenological study, which is used to describe events, activities, or phenomena. The most outstanding feature of this research design is the collection of data through interviews, visiting places, attending events, and watching videos with to understand the meaning that participants place on a given variable.

This type of research design could be used to improve nursing by giving insights on evidence-based care. When researchers interact with patients receiving a specific form of care, the responses are in the form of personal stories and words, hence lived experiences. Such findings emulate the art of nursing and they contribute significantly to evidence-based and holistic practice.

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Research Sampling

Sampling is the statistical procedure that is used to select a sample to be used in a study. This process is important because it helps researchers determine the right sample size for the results obtained therein to be credible. In addition, sampling allows the selection of representative samples to avoid biased results.

One sampling strategy used in quantitative research is random sampling. In this case, every potential participant in a given population has an equal chance of being selected, which makes it the purest form of sampling. Results obtained from study designs using this form of sampling are highly credible and reliable.

Another sampling strategy learned is convenience sampling. In this case, a researcher selects a sample based on their accessibility and proximity hence the concept of convenience. This is the most popular sampling technique among researchers as it is fast, simple, cheap, and the participants are readily available.

Credible Nursing Practice

Research in nursing yields results that are reflective of the nature of services provided, their effectiveness in achieving the set objectives, and patient outcomes among other attributes. Therefore, through research, nurses could identify processes that yield desirable results in the process of care delivery. Similarly, nurse researchers could identify practices that promote patient safety within the continuum of care (Black, Balneaves, Garossino, Puyat, & Qian, 2015). Qualitative research also contributes to evidence-based practice, which is one of the ways of measuring what works within a specific patient population.

Research is critical for creating an evidence-based nursing practice by using lived patient and nurse experiences. These experiences are used to tailor nursing practices based on evidence as opposed to theoretical assumptions. Additionally, quantitative research gives precise information concerning different practices in nursing. Given that such findings could be generalized, research contributes significantly to evidence-based practice.


Nursing practice has expanded its scope from the primary goal of providing care to include research. This aspect plays an important role in the advancement of nursing as a professional practice. Quantitative research uses numbers to determine the relationship between variables for credible and reliable data. Qualitative research uses the lived experiences of the participants to draw useful evidence-based conclusions. As part of research, sampling helps in the selection of the right sample in the appropriate size for generalizable results. In nursing, research could be used to promote safety and evidence-based practices.


Black, A. T., Balneaves, L. G., Garossino, C., Puyat, J. H., & Qian, H. (2015). Promoting evidence-based practice through a research training program for point-of-care clinicians. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 45(1), 14-20. Web.

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Bressan, V., Bagnasco, A., Aleo, G., Timmins, F., Barisone, M., Bianchi, M., … Sasso, L. (2017). Mixed-methods research in nursing – A critical review. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 26(20), 2878-2890.

Squires, A., & Dorsen, C. (2018). Qualitative research in nursing and health professions regulation. Journal of Nursing Regulation, 9(3), 15-26. Web.

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