Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Nursing

The notions of qualitative and quantitative research in the nursing practice are extremely common, as they serve as a foundation for the continuous development of evidence-based clinical practice. The primary difference between the two approaches to the research is the fact that quantitative analysis aims at finding tangible and measurable proof in order to either justify or reject a scholarly hypothesis. Qualitative studies, for their part, are designed to analyze concepts that could not be measured quantitatively. The research conducted by Queirós et al. (2017) outlined several types of both qualitative and quantitative research in order to define their strengths and weaknesses in terms of reliability and validity. The types of qualitative research include observation, ethnography, field research, focus groups, case studies, structured interviews, and in-depth interviews (Queirós et al., 2017). The types of quantitative research, in their turn, encompass field experiments, simulation, surveys, correlational study, multivariate analysis (Queirós et al., 2017). Hence, the advantages of the qualitative research may be outlined as follows:

  • Qualitative studies are more focused on the human experience and people’s feelings rather than tangible data that tend to dehumanize any experience;
  • The process of qualitative research is less restrained, and the changes could be introduced to the research at any given time;

The drawbacks of such research, on the other hand, include:

  • The complexity of data interpretation and organization makes it impossible for qualitative research to process large amounts of data and include a large study sample;
  • The data obtained from qualitative research cannot immediately affect practice due to lack of credibility and quantitative evidence.

As far as quantitative research is concerned, the advantages include the ability to process a specific amount of data and the impartiality in terms of interpretation, as the measurements are calculated with pre-defined testing techniques. The limitations, however, concern the time and financial support required to conduct the research and the rigidity of the research protocols (Queirós et al., 2017). Hence, it may be concluded that both qualitative and quantitative research is crucial for nursing and clinical practice. Yet, their application should be carefully considered in the context of the sample, the scope of research, and the desired outcomes.


Queirós, A., Faria, D., & Almeida, F. (2017). Strengths and limitations of qualitative and quantitative research methods. European Journal of Education Studies, 3(9), 369-387.

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