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Research methodologies used in nursing research can be classified into several different categories. These include quantitative research, qualitative research, and mixed methods research.
Quantitative research is a type of research that involves the use of numerical data and statistical analysis to test hypotheses and answer research questions (Polit & Beck, 2017). This type of research is often used to study phenomena that can be measured and quantified, such as patient outcomes or the effectiveness of treatment. Quantitative research methods include experimental designs, surveys, and observational studies. For example, a quantitative study might use a randomized controlled trial to examine the effectiveness of a new medication in reducing symptoms of a specific condition.
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Qualitative research focuses on understanding the experiences, perceptions, and meanings of individuals and groups (Creswell & Poth, 2018). This type of research is often used to explore complex and subjective phenomena, such as patient experiences or healthcare provider perspectives. Qualitative research methods include ethnography, case study, phenomenology, and grounded theory. For example, a qualitative study might use in-depth interviews to understand patients’ experiences with a chronic illness and how they cope with their condition.
Mixed methods research is a type of research that combines both quantitative and qualitative methods in order to gain a complete understanding of a research question (Greene & Caracelli, 2019). Research of this type is often used to triangulate data or examine different aspects of a phenomenon. Mixed methods research can include contemporary, sequential, or transformative designs. For example, a mixed methods study might use a survey to gather numerical data on a particular phenomenon and then use in-depth interviews to explore the experiences and perceptions of participants in more detail.
In nursing research, these methods are used in different ways depending on the questions and objectives of the study (Greene & Caracelli, 2019).. For example, quantitative research methods are often used to measure the effectiveness of interventions and to identify risk factors for specific conditions. Qualitative research methods, on the other hand, are often used to explore the perspectives of patients and healthcare providers and to understand the experiences of individuals and groups. Mixed methods research is used to combine the strengths of both quantitative and qualitative methods and to gain a complete understanding of a research question.
Creswell, J. W., & Poth, C. N. (2018). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches. Sage publications.
Greene, J. A., & Caracelli, V. J. (2019). Mixing methods: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. Sage publications.
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Wolters Kluwer Health.