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Research Guide

This guide has been created to provide quick access to resources that support the research process.

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Scribbr. (2019, November 15). Quantitative vs. qualitative research: The differences explained [Video]. YouTube.

Identifying Qualitative & Quantitative Articles

To find qualitative and quantitative studies, try adding one of these words/phrases to your search terms. The word "qualitative" or "quantitative" will sometimes appear in the title, abstract, or subject terms, but not always. Look at the methods section of the article to determine what type of study design was used.

Qualitative Research
Definition: Research that seeks to provide understanding of human experience, perceptions, motivations, intentions, and behaviors based on description and observation and utilizing a naturalistic interpretative approach to a subject and its contextual setting.
What's involved: Observations described in words
Starting point: A situation the researcher can observe
Goals: Participants are comfortable with the researcher. They are honest and forthcoming, so that the researcher can make robust observations.
Drawbacks: If the researcher is biased, or is expecting to find certain results, it can be difficult to make completely objective observations.
Some Methods: Interview, Focused group, Observation, Ethnography, Grounded Theory
Saber, D. S., Anglade, D., & Schirle, L. M,  (2016, March). A study examining senior nursing students' expectations of work and the workforce. Journal of Nursing Management, 24(2).
Ya-Ting, Ke. (2019, July 11). On the difficulty of finding one’s place: A qualitative study of new nurses’ processes of growth in the workplace. Journal of Clinical Nursing, 28(23-24). 


Quantitative Research
Definition: Research based on traditional scientific methods, which generates numerical data and usually seeks to establish causal relationships between two or more variables, using statistical methods to test the strength and significance of the relationships.
What's involved: Observations measured in numbers
Starting point: A testable hypothesis
Goals: Researchers may be so careful about measurement methods that they do not make connections to a greater context.
Drawbacks: Researchers may be so careful about measurement methods that they do not make connections to a greater context.
Some Methods: Survey, Randomized controlled trial, Clinical trial, Experimental Statistics

Schwartz, P. H., Imperiale, T. F., Perkins, S. M., Schmidt, K. K. Althouse, S., & Rawl, S. M. (2019, April).  Impact of including quantitative information in a decision aid for colorectal cancer screening: A randomized controlled trial. Patient Education and Counseling, 102(4).              

Solvik, E., & Struksnes, S. (2018, March 11). Training nursing skills: A quantitative study of nursing students’ experiences before and after clinical practice, Nursing Research and Practice.     

Simmons University. (2020, August 20). Nursing: Quantitative & qualitative articles