Qualitative and quantitative methodologies are increasingly utilized as methods of research in a nursing study to strengthen the breadth and depth of understanding of phenomena in nursing (Rahman, 2016). There are many advantages and disadvantages of applying both qualitative and quantitative approaches:
A researcher can use quantitative data to support components of qualitative research by identifying outlying cases or representative patients, while qualitative data can help in shedding light on an element of quantitative research through the development of conceptual instrument or model (Doorenbos, 2014). This brings in the broader perspective that cannot be achieved using a single approach. An anomaly that may not be presented by using a qualitative method can be presented while using a quantitative method and vice verse (Doorenbos, 2014).
During research, a qualitative observation of a phenomenon or event provides the opportunity of looking into the subtle details, which outlines the issue or problem. By using a quantitative tool such as survey, the researcher will be able to validate the information observed during the qualitative phase (Rahman, 2016). Thus, when collecting data, quantitative data help in providing baseline information that can be used in selecting patients to interview, on the other hand, qualitative data enable the researcher to understand the facilitators and barriers to patient retention and recruitment (Rahman, 2016).
When analyzing data, qualitative data helps in describing, interpreting, clarifying and validating quantitative results (Doorenbos, 2014). Therefore, using both methods expands the study in a manner that one approach cannot. Offering statistical analysis together with observation makes the study more comprehensive.
Implementing the use of both qualitative and quantitative method is challenging, particularly when they are used in evaluating complex interventions in nursing. The challenges include the expertise and efforts needed due to the synchronized data collection and since equal weight must be given in each type of data (Dixon-Woods, Agarwal, Jones, Young, & Sutton, 2005). Such research requires extensive training in both qualitative and quantitative methodologies and a team that will carefully adhere to the methodological rigor needed for both methods. Researchers in nursing may also face inconsistency in research findings from the subjectivity of qualitative methods and the objectivity of quantitative methods (Dixon-Woods, Agarwal, Jones, Young, & Sutton, 2005).
In summary, the integration of qualitative and quantitative data can help in strengthening and enriching the analysis and findings of any research in nursing. By carefully using both qualitative and quantitative methodologies that suits the research questions and meet its resource constraints, there should be deeper and meaningful learning on the implementation and effectiveness of using the methods research.
Dixon-Woods, M., Agarwal, S., Jones, D., Young, B., & Sutton, A. (2005). Synthesising qualitative and quantitative evidence: a review of possible methods. Journal of health services research & policy, 10(1), 45-53.
Doorenbos, A. Z. (2014). Mixed methods in nursing research: an overview and practical examples. 47(3), 207-217.
Rahman, M. S. (2016). The advantages and disadvantages of using qualitative and quantitative approaches and methods in language "testing and assessment" research: A literature review. Journal of Education and Learning, 6(1), 102.
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