Qualitative Nursing Research

In order to function as an educated consumer of research, it is necessary to have the ability to understand and analyze research articles. Nurses must apply critical thinking skills when reading and evaluating research articles, and not accept the article or its findings merely at face value. The following paper is a critique of a qualitative research article published in 2011 by Journal of Nursing Scholarship, titled “Jamaican Adolescent Girls with Older Male Sexual Partners”. The article is a qualitative study investigating the sexual risks that lead to contraction of human immunodeficiency virus among adolescent girls in Kingston, Jamaica (Wood, Hutchinson, Kahwa, Hewitt, & Waldron, 2011).
Comparison to Quantitative Articles
The article “Jamaican Adolescent Girls with Older Male Sexual Partners”, aims to gain deeper understanding of behavioral patterns of its target population (Wood et al, 2011). The authors aim to gain deeper understanding sexual behavior of the target population by focusing on risky sexual behavior and factors influencing them. Quantitative articles basically aim to investigate relationship between to more variables through mathematical formulas (Jeanne & Marianne, 2004 p.103). Additionally, unlike quantitative articles where the result of the study can be pre-established in quantitative articles the findings are unknown to the researchers.
Wood et al (2011), uses a descriptive research design unlike quantitative articles which use quantitative designs such as experimental and quasi-experimental. The data collected in this article is basically descriptive in nature while quantitative articles collect is measurable using parameters such as degrees Celsius and monetary value.
Unlike some quantitative articles I have read, the sample size used by Wood et al (2011) is significantly small. Most quantitative articles use a large sample size in comparison to the sample used in this article of forty-three late adolescent girls. The conclusions and implications of the article are descriptive in nature unlike other quantitative articles that incorporate quantitative data to support any presuppositions made in this two sections. Wood et al (2011), aims to gain better understanding of human behavior unlike quantitative studies that aim to develop mathematical formulas to explain the relationship between two variables.
Similarities and Differences
The similarities between the article and other quantitative articles are that both require a researcher. Both qualitative and quantitative are guided by a researcher although their roles during sample selection and data collection may defer. Another notable similarity between qualitative and quantitative research is the format of presentation. To enhance, readability and understanding of the target audience both qualitative and quantitative use a standard format of presentation including introduction, background/literature review, methodology, sample, procedure for data collection, data analysis, findings, limitations of the study and discussions (Jeanne & Marianne, 2004, p.103). Finally, this article just like other quantitative provides a background study/ literature review. The article takes into consideration ethical concerns of the participants; all the procedures used during sampling and data collection were approved by a review board. Most of the quantitative articles I have read also take into consideration in a quest to protect the interest of the participants.
According to LoBiondo-Wood & Haber (2010), “qualitative research is discovery oriented; it is explanatory, descriptive in nature”. It uses words, as opposed to numbers to explain a phenomenon (p. 86). Gathered information is then analyzed in an interpretative and subjective manner. The primary aim of qualitative research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic and is usually more exploratory in nature. Qualitative research focuses on gathering of mainly verbal data rather than measurements like we see with quantitative research. Quantitative research, on the other hand focuses more on statistical analysis in order to explain what is observed. Qualitative research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the research project, quantitative research is highly recommended.
The presentation of data in a qualitative research is in the form of words, such as from interviews, images, or objects. If you are conducting a qualitative research what will most likely appear in your discussion are figures in the form of graphs. However, if you are conducting a quantitative research, what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of numbers and statistics (Jeanne, & Marianne, 2004).
Qualitative research is primarily subjective in approach as it seeks to understand human behavior and reasons that govern such behavior. Researchers have the tendency to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter in this type of research method. In quantitative research, researchers tend to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. This is because quantitative research is objective in approach in the sense that it only seeks precise measurements and analysis of target concepts to answer his inquiry.
Components of the “Qualitative Process”
Statement of the Phenomenon of Interest
The first component of qualitative process is the statement of the subject matter of interest (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.129). In this section, the researcher has to offer justification for the study which gives the target audience an understanding of the direction of the study.
Purpose
The second component of the qualitative process is the purpose. The purpose offers the aims and what the researcher aims to achieve in carrying out the study (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.129).
Method
Method articulates the design and data collection tools that the researchers will use in the inquiry(LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.129). To enhance the quality of the research the researcher must ensure that the method used selected will be adequate for the study.
Sampling
The fourth component of the qualitative process is sampling. Sampling defines the design used in the selection of the population sample (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.129).
Data Collection
Data collection provides an analysis of the tools the study uses for data collection and the procedure for the same (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.130). In this section the researcher has to address the ethical concerns which may infringe on the interest of participants and measures taken to mitigate them.
Data Analysis
Data analysis identifies the tools and steps employed by the researcher in data collection (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.130). Additionally, data analysis also helps to determine whether the tools employed in analysis are appropriate for the research.
Credibility
According to LoBiondo-Wood & Haber (2006, p.130), credibility is concerned with analysis of whether the target population/participants in the research process relate to the process. Essentially, credibility evaluates whether the participants understand the research problem and topic under investigation
Auditability
Auditability evaluates whether the target audience can relate to the researchers opinion or position regarding the phenomenon of interest (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.130). To enhance auditability it is critical for the researcher to document the research process.
Fittingness
Fittingness is concerned with whether the research findings can be generalized to other areas/situations outside the study. Fittingness essentially determines whether the findings are meaningful to individuals other than the target population in the research.
Findings
The findings component presents the result of the research and in the qualitative research this section is mostly descriptive in nature. The data analysis component also focuses on credibility, audibility and fittingness of the qualitative process (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2006, p.130).
Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations
The final component of the qualitative process includes three elements including conclusion based on the findings, implications of the study to the study to the stakeholders concerned and recommendations for future studies on the phenomenon or subject matter under investigation (LoBiondo-Wood, & Haber, 2006, p.130).
Type of study do you prefer to read and the reasons for my preference
According to Dodd (2001, p.58), the research design adopted by a researcher is influenced by the phenomenon and subject matter under investigation. Personally I prefer to read a qualitative research primarily because it is descriptive in nature using words to discuss the findings of the research (Jeanne & Marianne, 2004, p.103). Additionally, qualitative research in some instances uses direct quotes by the participants which help to enhance understanding by putting the findings into the context of the study. Quantitative articles use mathematical and statistical formulas in the findings and discussion section which makes it hard to understand especially when I am not familiar with the statistical formulas and models used by the researcher.
Conclusion
Qualitative and quantitative researches have some similarities including both require a researcher, include all components of the research process including the purpose and objective of the study, background, methodology, sample, procedure for data collection, data analysis, findings, limitations of the study and discussions. Additionally, they both use primarily data collection methods. Qualitative and quantitative researches differ considerably because of the hypothesis, description, nature of research, usage, type of data and data collection instruments used.

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