The purpose of qualitative research is to “understand, describe, and interpret social phenomena as perceived by individuals, groups and cultures” (Holloway & Galvin, p.3). Through examining the experiences, thoughts, feelings and behaviours of individuals, qualitative research provides insight into how people interpret their experiences and their environment (Holloway & Galvin, p.3).
Qualitative research tends to use words as data as opposed to numbers.
Historical (Renjith et al., 2021).
This is not an exhaustive list but common designs used in health sciences.
Interviews (semi-structured or unstructured)
Document study (diaries, journals, pre-existing documents or internet based materials)
Visual methodologies (photo elicitation, video diaries, or paintings)
Focus groups (Russell & Gregory, 2003).
Collected data is transcribed into transcripts and protocols and then coded and analysed (Busetto, Wick & Gumbinger, 2020).
Busetto, L., Wick, W. & Gumbinger, C. (2020). How to use and assess qualitative research methods. Neurol. Res. Pract. 2(14). https://doi.org/10.1186/s42466-020-00059-z
Holloway, I. & Galvin, K. (2016). Qualitative research in nursing and healthcare. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons, Incorporated.
Renjith, V., Yesodharan, R., Noronha, J. A., Ladd, E., & George, A. (2021). Qualitative methods in health care research. International Journal of Preventive Medicine, 12(20). https://doi.org/10.4103/ijpvm.IJPVM_321_19
Russell C.K. & Gregory, D.M. (2003). Evaluation of qualitative research studies. Evidence-Based Nursing 6(2), 36-40. https://doi.org/10.1136/ebn.6.2.36
The purpose of quantitative research is to study the causal or correlational relationship between particular variables to describe phenomenon by testing a hypothesis (Creswell, 2013).
In following the “scientific method”, quantitative research uses systematic data collection, objective measurements and mathematical or statistical analysis of data in order to generalize findings across contexts and populations (Boswell & Cannon, 2020).
Quantitative research generally uses numbers as data as opposed to words.
Descriptive Research Design
Correlational Research Design
Quasi-experimental Research Design
Experimental Research Design (Boswell & Cannon, 2020).
This is not an exhaustive list. There are different study designs within these categories and other designs in general.
Analysing pre-existing statistical data (Boswell & Cannon, 2020).
Analysis is objective, using mathematical, statistical or computation techniques to analyze data.
Boswell, C., & Cannon, S. (2020). Introduction to nursing research: Incorporating evidence-based practice,Fifth edition. Jones & Bartlett Learning. Creswell, J. W. (2013). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.