Paper Example. Purpose of Quantitative Research in Healthcare

Published: 2023-11-19
15 min read

Quantitative research methods are widely used in the medical care field due to their ability to provide a detailed analysis of concepts. They are mainly used to assess the quality of health care services. Thus, they are used in the field of health to introduce the opinions and views of patients. They also allow researchers to address the quality and diverse dimensions of people's health care. Quantitative research uses statistical analyses to measure objectives and enable systematic and empirical evaluation of medical care (Watson, 2015). In quantitative research, surveys and questionnaires are the data collection methods that are mainly used.

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Quantitative research can either be descriptive studies or hypothesis-driven studies. Descriptive studies are useful in examining the patterns and changes in health and the use of medical care services. The findings from the descriptive statistics or frequencies can be used to plan and monitor trends in health care that can improve the quality of services (Watson, 2015). The hypothesis-driven studies can be observational or experimental, and they are used to test health hypotheses. For instance, in healthcare, they are used to test the relationship between a medical intervention and an outcome.

Quantitative research is advantageous because it produces reliable and factual data and provides evidence-based information. The information is crucial in healthcare, as it helps researchers know the outcomes or impacts of a particular health intervention. However, quantitative data provided can be superficial and narrow to be used in making major health decisions (Macur, 2013). The findings are also limited, as their evidence is based on numerical descriptions (Claydon, 2015).

The Purpose of Qualitative Research in Healthcare

Qualitative research was introduced in healthcare to provide answers related to improving the quality of medical care services (Busaidi, 2008). It involves the systematic collection, organization, evaluation, and presentation of data. It helps researchers to attain an in-depth understanding of concepts and trends in healthcare. The primary objective of qualitative research is to answer the how and why questions. Thus, the use of small but focused samples or participants instead of large, randomly selected samples. It enriches or improves the researchers’ understanding of quantitative data. Qualitative research is preferred because it helps capture the opinions or perspectives of patients or clients about healthcare. Subsequently, it helps medical care providers or professionals to understand how patients perceive healthcare services (Cunningham et al., 2011). The main methods of data collection used to capture such information are focus groups, ethnography, and interviews.

Qualitative research is necessary for primary healthcare when researchers want to determine why patients behave in a particular manner. It helps them to gather the experiences and feelings of the patients or clients (Cunningham et al., 2011). The proponents of qualitative research argue that qualitative information reveals something that cannot be revealed by numbers alone; it is not bound to the limitations of quantitative research (Chapman et al., 2015). For instance, if the participants' answers do not match the researchers' expectations, the information is still useful. However, those against qualitative health research argue that researchers can impose their goalposts on the participants, which could result in a loss of focus (Chapman et al., 2015).

Contribution of Quantitative and Qualitative evidence to the use of Medicinal Cannabis in Chronic Pain Management among Adults

Several researchers have conducted quantitative research on the use of medicinal cannabis to manage chronic pain in adults. Piper et al. (2017) conducted an online survey to determine patients' perspectives on the use of cannabis to manage chronic pain. The study involved 984 participants. Two-thirds of the participants reported that cannabis was effective in relieving their pain. However, they acknowledged that there was a potential for overdosing; 14.1% of the participants revealed that cannabis has other non-health benefits, such as improved quality of life. The central negative theme of the study is that the medication is ridiculously expensive. Thus, pharma-economic factors are the main limitation of using medicinal cannabis. Sexton et al. (2016) also conducted an anonymous online survey to examine how people use cannabis for medicinal purposes and its efficacy. The study had 2404 respondents. 86% of the participants reported that it improved their signs and symptoms (Sexton et al., 2016). Besides, 59.8% of the participants revealed that they used cannabis in place of other drugs (Sexton et al., 2016). However, the research also revealed that most of the people who use cannabis for medical purposes have no physician supervision. Moreover, people use cannabis for conditions like anxiety and depression in which there is no research to support its use. Shah et al. (2017) conducted a study that involved 48 participants who filled out a questionnaire. The participants were divided into two; one group had a positive urine screen for tetrahydrocannabinol, and the other group had a negative test. Both groups reported that cannabis resulted in a significant improvement in pain interference and severity. There was an improvement in pain catastrophizing, and the results did not differ in the two groups.

Equally, qualitative research has been conducted to evaluate the use of cannabis. Mercurio et al. (2019) also carried out a study to compare the use of Marijuana and other pain management medications. Twenty-five participants were interviewed for the study. The respondents reported that Marijuana improved the quality of life and had fewer side effects than other medications. Nevertheless, the stigma related to marijuana use, its cost, and its lack of instructions on how to use prevent the pervasive use of Marijuana in medication. Similarly,

Cooke et al. (2019) conducted a study to evaluate clinicians' and patients' perspectives on the co-use of cannabis and opioids to manage chronic non-cancer pain (CNCP). The study involved twenty-three clinicians and 46 patients; data was collected through semi-structured interviews. The patients reported that co-using cannabis and opioids helped relieve their pain, but they also expressed their concerns about the addictive potential. Some patients reported that they preferred cannabis over opioids because it assists them to forget the pain. The patients were also concerned about how to determine which cannabis species would help them manage the pain. The clinicians also revealed that cannabis improved the pain symptoms among patients. Nevertheless, they were concerned that it would increase the risk of mental disorders. Likewise, Bourke et al. (2019) conducted a descriptive qualitative study to examine why spinal cord chronic pain patients use cannabis and their experiences. Eight individuals were involved in the study, and semi-structured interviews were used to gather information. The respondents reported that they considered using cannabis after other pain management strategies failed. Cannabis rapidly reduced their pain and helped them to carry out their daily activities. Despite the benefits, they had concerns about the irregular supply of cannabis.

My Position in regards to the Use of Medicinal Cannabis to Manage Chronic Pain

The evidence from the studies proves that cannabis effectively reduces chronic pain and improves the quality of life. Besides, it has fewer and less intense side effects compared to other opioids like morphine. Therefore, I support its use in managing chronic pain among adults. It can help improve their lives and reduce the mortality rates that result from chronic pain. However, patients should be monitored by clinicians or physicians to avoid misuse and overdose. Governments should also implement laws that will regulate their use and reduce the cost of medicinal cannabis. They should ensure that it is readily available.

Lesson Learnt From the Unit

The first lesson I have acquired from the unit is that there are two main methods of conducting research; quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative research involves the use of questionnaires and surveys to collect data. Qualitative research uses interviews and focuses on gathering evidence or information. The two methods are entirely necessary for researching nursing practice. The results of quantitative research are factual and evidence-based; thus, they can be used to plan and monitor medical care changes. However, the data can be superficial or too limited to be used in healthcare.

On the other hand, qualitative research results are based on the perspectives or experiences of various respondents. Thus, it helps researchers to find out the perception of patients about particular medical care strategies. However, the research can be altered to match the objectives of the research.

The second lesson I have learned is that people can have different perceptions of particular healthcare interventions. Although the use of cannabis for medical purposes has been legalized in many countries, some controversies surround it. People against its use argue that it can lead to psychiatric or mental disorders such as anxiety, depression, or panic attacks. However, several studies support its use as it reduces the severity of chronic pain among patients. Medicinal cannabis also results in improved quality of life for the patients. The drug also has fewer side effects compared to other drugs such as morphine. Furthermore, those who use cannabis as a pain medication should be monitored by physicians to avoid overdosing.

The unit has had several implications for my nursing practice. It is crucial to carry out comprehensive or extensive research on a medical issue before making a decision. For instance, any decision about using medicinal cannabis to manage chronic pain should be accompanied by either qualitative or quantitative evidence. It is wrong to make medical decisions without analyzing the opinions or feelings of others, especially patients. Additionally, health professionals should ensure patients' safety by monitoring their progress or how they use the various medications given to them. Government regulations or laws should be considered when making medical decisions. Thus, health interventions' safety and success are dependent on the collaborative efforts of medical professionals, patients, the government, and researchers.


Bourke, J. A., Catherwood, V. J., Nunnerley, J. L., Martin, R. A., Levack, W. M., Thompson, B. L., & Acland, R. H. (2019). Using cannabis for pain management after spinal cord injury: a qualitative study. Spinal Cord Series and Cases, 5(1), 1-8.

Busaidi, Z. Q. (2008). Qualitative research and its uses in health care. Sultan Qaboos University Medical Journal, 8(1), 11.

Chapman, A. L., Hadfield, M., & Chapman, C. J. (2015). Qualitative healthcare research: an introduction to grounded theory using thematic analysis. Journal of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, 45(3), 201-205.

Cooke, A. C., Knight, K. R., & Miaskowski, C. (2019). Patients’ and clinicians’ perspectives of co-use of cannabis and opioids for chronic non-cancer pain management in primary care. International Journal of Drug Policy, 63, 23-28.

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