Quantitative research collects observable data to answer a research question using statistical, computational, or mathematical methods. This is often considered more accurate or valuable than qualitative research that focuses on collecting non-numeric data. Qualitative research examines opinions, concepts, characteristics, and descriptions. The quantitative analysis looks at measurable, numerical relationships (Price, 2018). Nowadays, it is suggested to use a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods of study in nursing. Nevertheless, both ways have their advantages and disadvantages.
Qualitative studies benefit from giving more in-depth and detailed data about the patient’s health status, emotions, and qualitative changes (Austin & Sutton, 2014). Quantitative research advantages lie in the fact that it might include broad groups of patients with similar health issues and more extensive subjects for the research, provide reliable results, and be generalized to drive practical application across different groups of people (Price, 2018). Simultaneously, qualitative studies have disadvantages, namely lack of generalization, biases, and restriction of answers. Quantitative studies have drawbacks in instrument errors and lack of consistency.
Mixed methods of research in nursing have their benefits because they provide a comprehensive analysis of issues, the systematic integration of data collection, and helps to understand possible controversial results coming from a study that used one method of research. Mixed studies also benefit from involving multidisciplinary teams in the study to provide more reliable results and avoid biases (Shorten & Smith, 2017). Nevertheless, a combination of methods demands researchers to be highly qualified and conduct an extensive study. Moreover, mixed methods research requires more resources and is labor-intensive (Shorten & Smith, 2017). Overall, it can be stated that depending on researchers’ needs, the method of study should be chosen that will be the most relevant to get meaningful outcomes.
Austin, Z., & Sutton, J. (2014). Qualitative research: getting started. The Canadian journal of hospital pharmacy, 67(6), 436–440. Web.
Price, D. (2018). Qualitative and quantitative approaches to evidence-based management. CQ Net. Web.
Shorten, A., & Smith, J. (2017). Mixed methods research: expanding the evidence base. Evidence-based nursing, 20(3), 74–75. Web.