Nursing research falls within paradigms which are positivist and naturalistic. Both paradigms oppose assumptions about views and reality of the world. Example of reality, the positivist believes that a single reality exists and that can be measured, while naturalistic paradigm are multiple realities that are continually changing and this makes it very difficult to measure. The two main types of research methods are quantitative and qualitative.
Quantitative research aligns with the positivist paradigm, while qualitative research aligns with the naturalistic paradigm. Quantitative research is a formal, objective, deductive approach to problem solving. While qualitative research is more informal, subjective, inductive approach to problem solving.
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Both methods are appropriate for conducting research; Selection of method to use depends primarily on the research questions being asked. These questions move from the research problem and purpose statement. For example, testing a new fall prevention program within hospital would require to obtain a baseline fall rate before the program and then again after full implementation of the program. Statistically, one could compare rate of falls before the new program with the rate of falls after the new program. Unit of analysis would be numbers and would lend itself to a quantitative design. However, if interested in studying the impact of falls on patient’s quality of life, obtain that information through a personal interview. The unit of analysis would be words, and a qualitative method would be the most appropriate approach to analyze this data (Houser, 2008).
Using both methods can be advantageous to researchers because both methods can be used to conduct studies. Qualitative studies use word to develops theory and frameworks and quantitative studies use numbers to test theory. It is also advantageous to use both studies when one study is conducted , the researcher can continue to validate the study after it is found to be reliable (Biddix, 2018).
Disadvantages of both studies comes into play in relations to bias and analyzing data. Bias takes away from the truthfulness of the study because the researcher will use the findings to their advantage. Elimination of bias in a quantitative study is “achieved when validity and reliability are established and in qualitative study it is achieved “when reliability, applicability and consistency are established” (Biddix, 2018).
Qualitative researchers use print media and electronic media to analyze data. The disadvantage of data analysis is getting the necessary information for the study when the information from these sources are very large (Biddix, 2018).