Research Design for Qualitative Research Quantitative Research Methodology

Afza.Malik GDA

Research Methodology and Research Design

Research Design for Qualitative Research Quantitative Research Methodology

Qualitative Research,Purposes of Research,Common Features of Quantitative and Naturalistic Studies,Main Approaches to Study,Nursing and Quantitative Research Design,Methodological Specificity,Influential of Nursing Inquiry,Selection of Research Approach,Uses or Implementation of Quantitative Research.

Qualitative Research

    Taken literally, qualitative research includes all modes of inquiry that do not rely on numbers or statistical methods. However, the terms qualitative and quantitative research are misnomers, albeit commonly used. The terms qualitative and quantitative actually refer to the forms of the data, not to specific research designs. 

    It is more accurate to discuss naturalistic and positivistic designs during which qualitative or quantitative data may be collected. For this reason, the subject usually considered under the topic of qualitative research will be called naturalistic inquiry here. 

    Naturalistic approaches comprise a wide array of research traditions, most often in the categories of ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology but also including ethnology, ethnomethodology, hermeneutics, oral/life histories, discourse analysis, case study methods, and critical, philosophical, and historical approaches to inquiry. 

  Each tradition has a distinct set of understanding philosophical or theoretical orientations, strategies for data collection and analysis, and forms of research products.

Purposes of Research

    The ultimate purpose of all research is the generation of new knowledge. However, different modes of inquiry produce different kinds of knowledge. Knowledge developed from naturalistic methods is at the level of rich description or in depth understanding. 

    Naturalistic inquiry tends to be exploratory in nature and is particularly useful in identifying important contextual features of the phenomenon. 

    Naturalistic approaches are called for when the purpose of the research is to obtain in depth information about a phenomenon, when little is known about a topic, or when new perspectives are needed. 

    Secondary purposes for naturalistic approaches include hypothesis generation, obtaining the range of possible items for instrument development, providing illustrative examples or cases, and delineating the context from which other data may be better interpreted.

Common Features of Quantitative and Naturalistic Studies

    There are several features that are common to most naturalistic studies. A basic tenet is that reality is socially constructed; as such, there are multiple realities for any phenomenon, given the multiple lenses through which different individuals perceive and experience a situation. 

    Naturalistic approaches favor conducting research in the field setting (vs. an artificial laboratory) in order to observe phenomena as they are lived and to preserve the contextual elements of the phenomenon. In contrast to positivist approaches, which use established instruments, in naturalistic inquiry the investigator is the instrument. 

    However, investigators are aware that their own experiences, biases, and perceptual sets particularize both the data that they elicit from informants and ultimately the data analysis/interpretation. There are generally accepted standards for rigor in naturalistic approaches. 

    These include the degree of intimacy of the investigator to the informants, the auditing of interviews and coding structures, trustworthiness, dependability, conformability, meaning-in-context, and saturation/redundancy.

    Naturalistic approaches (also known as constructivist or inductive inquiry, Paradigm 11, or field approaches) are often contrasted with positivist approaches (also called empiricism, Paradigm I, or experimental approaches). Naturalistic and positivistic modes of inquiry provide different types of data. 

    However, these data sets are most fruitfully viewed as complementary rather than in opposition. Together they provide a more complete understanding than can be obtained by using either approach singly. 

    Sometimes the methods can be employed simultaneously (methodological triangulation); at other times the methods must be applied sequentially in order to satisfy the requirements of each. The reciprocal interweaving of naturalistic and positivist research builds nursing knowledge as each contributes different but important information.

Main Approaches to Study

    Specific approaches to naturalistic inquiry were developed primarily in the social sciences and philosophy. For example, phenomenology as a method derived from phenomenological and existentialist philosophy, ethnography from anthropologists' study of culture, grounded theory, and ethnomethodology from sociology (specifically the school of symbolic interactionism).

Nursing and Quantitative Research Design

    In the discipline of nursing, there were several early reports of qualitative data without a specified naturalistic approach. In 1952 the first issues of the first volume of Nursing Research, articles report the qualitative results of unstructured interviews. 

    Orlando (1961) used data from participant observation to describe case examples and advocated the use of open-ended interview techniques followed by validation to determine each patient's individual needs. 

    Although not giving a formal name to this approach, she used data grounded in clinical nursing observations to inductively derive her theory concerning deliberative nursing practice.

    In 1962 nurse scientist graduate training programs were initiated through the Division of Nursing for the purpose of increasing the number of nurse research scientists with doctorates in basic physiological or social sciences. 

    As a result, many nurses completed programs that trained them in the qualitative methods developed in the social sciences. Many nurse anthropologists were trained during this period. Similarly, from 1962 to 1967, Benoliel served as a member of the three-person team (with Glaser and Strauss) studying dying and developing what was to be called grounded theory.

Methodological Specificity

    Over the decade of the 1960s the number and methodological specificity of naturalistic inquiry increased. By the end of the 1960s, Nursing Research had published articles specifically using grounded theory methods, ethnographic methods, and other naturalistic approaches. 

    Image: The Journal of Nursing Scholarship was initiated in 1966 and also published research using naturalistic methods (although positivist approaches predominated in both journals). With the advent of the Western Journal of Nursing Research in 1978, edited by Brink, there emerged an outlet with a balanced representation of qualitative research. 

    In 1976, Paterson and Zderad published a book based on phenomenological observations and Brink's (1976) book contained a series of methodological articles on conducting qualitative (largely ethnographic) research. 

    Nearly a decade later two broad based books on qualitative research were published (Field & Morse, 1985; Leininger, 1985b). With the advent of the journal Qualitative Health Research in 1991, also edited by a nurse anthropologist, Morse, an entire journal was fully dedicated to reporting naturalistic research.

Influential of Nursing Inquiry

    Research conferences and societies have also been influential in fostering the development of naturalistic inquiry. The series Communicating Nursing Research, sponsored by the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education and the Division of Nursing, and The Transcultural Nursing Care series organized by Leininger from 1977 to the present offered an opportunity for the presentation of naturalistic research. 

    More recently, regional research societies such as the Mid-west Nursing Research Society have added qualitative research sections that meet annually, sponsor symposia, and disseminate newsletters.

Selection of Research Approach

    The selection of a particular naturalistic approach depends on the purpose of the research. 

    For example, phenomenology is the method of choice when the purpose is to understand the meaning of the lived experience of a given phenomenon for informants; grounded theory is selected to uncover or understand basic social processes; and ethnography is selected to understand patterns and/or processes grounded in culture.

     Although most qualitative approaches do not employ formal theoretical frameworks, they do rest on established philosophical assumptions. 

    However, some naturalistic inquiry (particularly ethnography) is conducted in the context of theoretical orientations that reflect the training of the investigator and may focus attention on particular phenomena, relationships, data collection techniques, or research products.

Uses or Implementation of Quantitative Research 

    In most forms of naturalistic inquiry, investigators typically use participant observation, informant interviews, and document analysis. However, the extent to which the investigator relies on any one strategy will vary.     

    For example, phenomenology relies primarily on informant interviews, ethnography, and grounded theory and generally has a more even reliance on participant observation and interviewing, whereas ethnology relies primarily on observations.

    Methods for data manipulation include strategies for taking notes, making memos, and coding and indexing systems. More recently, computerized software programs such as ETHNOGRAPH, NUD IST, and MARTIN have been fruitfully employed to aid in the management of data. 

    Methods used in data analysis are inductive and include matrix, thematic, and domain analysis. Finally, the form of the final product may vary. In grounded theory, a substantive theory with a process model is common; in ethno science (a form of ethnography) a taxonomic structure is the product.

    In summary, naturalistic inquiry most commonly occurs in field settings, with investigators collecting data through participant observation and unstructured interviews and analyzing data through thematic content analysis. 

    It developed initially in the social sciences and began to be incorporated in nursing research in the 1960s and 1970s. Today it is an accepted scientific approach that complements knowledge derived from positivist inquiry.

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