Qualitative Research Implementation in Clinical Labs
In the clinical laboratory setting, which is mainly focused on quantitative data collection that uses numerical information, there is still a place for qualitative research. The qualitative method allows for collecting open-ended and emerging data that can be used for theme development. Therefore, if a clinical laboratory specialist is interested in the development of a new research area, they conduct an exploratory study using qualitative data analysis. Exploring and discovering new data through qualitative research often means that there is not much information available on the issue that interests a clinical laboratory specialist (Campbell, 2014). Essential characteristics of qualitative studies include their occurrence in a natural setting, the use of different humanistic and interactive methods, as well as the emerging quality of data rather than it being prefigured. Besides, qualitative research methods are highly interpretive, which means that there is excellent flexibility offered to researchers.
For example, when a clinical lab professional wants to explore and document the career paths of workers of color, they may want to use case study research, which is a qualitative methodology allowing each participant to tell their story. By implementing semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions, the researcher can then develop themes, categories, and data points based on what the interviewees said. Thus, the rich experiences of professionals in the field could reveal new areas for future exploration using mixed methods and quantitative research approaches. Qualitative research allows lab specialists to be open-minded and look for value in data collection to discover an abundance of new topics that can be explored in the future. By using the qualitative research method, clinical lab specialists can add quality information to the literature bank.
Quantitative Research Implementation
Quantitative research methods allow for collecting data focusing on precise and objective measurements using numerical and statistical analysis methods to either support or refute a hypothesis formulated to conduct a study. The aim of quantitative research is to use quantifiable data, the analysis of which can be generalizable, predictable, and provide a causal exploration between phenomena. Because there is not much flexibility and possibility of interpretation in quantitative studies, with the researcher’s role being considered detached and impartial. Data collection methods used in quantitative studies include the random sampling of participants that should be statistically representative of a population. Thus, clinical lab specialists regularly use quantitative studies to conduct experiments that can be reproduced with the adjustment of variables for effects examination.
The documentation of observations during experiments can serve as a basis for finding connections between variables and making valuable conclusions for the future implementation of experiments. Statistical analyses are common in a lab setting, including mean calculation, standard deviation, and a t-test. Thus, the data is objectified based on the statistical analysis of data. Medical laboratory professionals are used to using quantitative data research because most processes being carried out are number-focused (Allen, 2017). For example, lab studies involve hypothesis testing through surveys, measurements, existing data analysis, and other methods. Lab studies are more controlled in their nature and less flexible. They can simulate software and products that do not exist yet, can trigger events that are hard to observe in non-lab settings, help observe normally risky activities in a safe environment, and provide the capacity to instrument devices and the environment for data collection.
Allen, M. (2017). Laboratory experiments. Web.
Campbell, S. (2014). What is qualitative research? Clinical Laboratory Science, 27(1), 3. Web.