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The process of choosing the correct research method benefits the author and the study itself. Research that is conducted with the right approach can contribute many valuable findings to the existing knowledge. Similarly, the ability to appraise the chosen methodology also grants professionals the ability to benefit their environment. Thus, it is necessary for a person dealing with research to understand the value of each method. Quantitative and qualitative studies reveal different types of findings to scholars, creating a comprehensive view of the stated problem. Both approaches are valid since each of them presents data that can and cannot be quantified, calculated, or described by the other.
The two articles described further discuss the process of preparing nursing students for real-life clinical experiences. This topic is essential for every nurse because it reveals the difference between their first encounter with practice and theoretical background. The study by Solvik and Struksnes (2018) shows that clinical exercises do not resemble real-life experiences but can adequately prepare one for future situations. This quantitative research presents specific numbers that can be analyzed to understand the student’s readiness. Thus, one can see an overall picture and the experiences of the majority. The data allow production solutions that respond to the major part of the group.
On the other hand, the study by Joolaee, Jafarian Amiri, Farahani, and Varaei (2015) presents an outlook that is more focused on individual opinions, experiences, and feelings. This research shows how the psychological preparedness of students may affect their clinical training. Here, the personal accounts of each participant are merged to reveal similar patterns in people’s experiences. Qualitative data are analyzed to show which problems may exist in the field. While such studies employ a much narrower range of participants than quantitative ones do, their attention to detail gives one the ability to take a close look at the problem’s details.
Advantages and Disadvantages
Quantitative and qualitative methods have their unique benefits and drawbacks. For example, quantitative studies produce specific results that can be used for statistics and visualization of change (Polit & Beck, 2017). However, their validity may be compromised by incorrect hypotheses, design, personal biases, and other concerns (Heale & Twycross, 2015). Moreover, they can be used to support ideas, but the identification of new concepts and problems may not be successful when using such methods.
In contrast, qualitative studies do not give concrete results to authors. Nevertheless, they assist researchers in collecting and analyzing data in situations where a closer look and a less structured discussion may lead to new findings (Green & Thorogood, 2018). For instance, a conversation with nurses about their personal experiences may address their problems on a more in-depth level than a survey with premade answers (Arreciado Marañón & Isla Pera, 2015). The latter does not possess the same capabilities as an interview since it does not allow people to share unique ideas that might not have been considered before.
Qualitative research should be considered real science because it gives researchers the ability to find and discuss new concepts and ideas without the need to support them with specific calculations. The differences between quantitative and qualitative methods create a system that includes concrete results and knowledge open to interpretation and further studying. The combination of both approaches is what constitutes research that moves the field forward.
Arreciado Marañón, A., & Isla Pera, M. P. (2015). Theory and practice in the construction of professional identity in nursing students: A qualitative study. Nurse Education Today, 35(7), 859-863.
Green, J., & Thorogood, N. (2018). Qualitative methods for health research (4th ed.). London, UK: Sage.
Heale, R., & Twycross, A. (2015). Validity and reliability in quantitative studies. Evidence-Based Nursing, 18(3), 66-67.
Joolaee, S., Jafarian Amiri, S. R., Farahani, M. A., & Varaei, S. (2015). Iranian nursing students’ preparedness for clinical training: A qualitative study. Nurse Education Today, 35(10), e13-e17.
Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Nursing research: Generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice (10th ed.). Philadelphia, PA: Wolters Kluwer.
Solvik, E., & Struksnes, S. (2018). Training nursing skills: A quantitative study of nursing students’ experiences before and after clinical practice. Nursing Research and Practice, 2018, 1-9.