Subjectivity, nonrandom sampling and small sample size distinguishes qualitative research from quantitative research. A big advantage of qualitative research is the ability to deeply probe and obtain rich descriptive data about social phenomena through structured interviews, cultural immersion, case studies and observation, for instance.
Examples include ethnography, narratives and grounded theory. Qualitative studies often take more time to complete due to the pain staking nature of gathering and analyzing field notes, transcribing interviews, identifying themes and studying photographs, for instance.
Studies are not easily replicable or generalizable to the general population. Lacking rigorous scientific controls and numerical data, qualitative findings may be dismissed by some researchers as anecdotal information. A mixed method approach capitalizes on the advantages of the quantitative and qualitative methods while offsetting the drawbacks of each. For instance, a principal interested in building rapport with parents of school children might undertake a mixed method study.
First, the principal would send out a school climate survey to parents asking them to rate their satisfaction with the school and quality of instruction. Focus groups could then be organized to gather qualitative information from parents to better understand their concerns. Mary Dowd is a dean of students who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State Mankato.
She enjoys teaching, writing and advising students on how to succeed in college. Her writing experience includes published research, training materials and hundreds of practical online articles. The database based on Word Net is a lexical database for the English Language. Qualitative Approaches Temple University: Advantages and Disadvantages University of Minnesota: Qualitative or Quantitative Data? About the Author Mary Dowd is a dean of students who holds a doctorate in educational leadership from Minnesota State Mankato.
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Once the philosophical differences different world views and practical barriers lack of knowledge or expertise to using a combined approach are recognized, they can be managed constructively, and a number of potential ways to usefully combine qualitative and quantitative techniques will emerge. Some examples of how combined study approaches can help us better understand and treat individuals living with chronic diseases make the generic uses outlined in Table 2 more accessible and relevant.
Six possible uses of combined method approaches are described below to help promote their use within the context of future chronic disease research. The most generally accepted use of combined methods is to begin with a qualitative exploration of some little-studied problem so that measurement instruments can be developed for later quantitative research. For example, Bauman and Adair's study 26 of social support among inner-city mothers of children with chronic illnesses used qualitative interviewing to inform the construction of a questionnaire.
Persons coping with chronic conditions often rely on the effectiveness of medications to relieve or at least minimize painful, debilitating symptoms.
Such is the case for individuals with heart disease who control pain from angina with prescribed medication. Such study alone, however, does not always sufficiently describe all of the side effects that may accompany this pain relief, nor can it encompass the meaning for individuals suffering from these side effects. The addition of qualitative study can often more fully identify and explain side effects or problems of compliance with drug regimes experienced by people living with chronic heart disease.
Clearly, both kinds of evidence are critical if research is to capture the full experience of long-term chronic heart disease. Additional examples from the literature include a study by Bashir et al. The quantification of rates of chronic disease can often leave researchers with unanswered questions about why rates are different over time or by geographic region. So, for example, when quantitative evidence points to a seemingly unexplained high prevalence of asthma in Alberta compared to other parts of Canada, qualitative analysis of the reasons for this is warranted.
Qualitative techniques will tell the story behind the comparative quantification. Wainwright's study 29 of chronic liver disease employs this approach, describing how qualitative research can lead to additional quantitative and qualitative appraisal of psychological adjustment to end-stage chronic liver disease.
The exploration of qualitative aspects of living with many chronic conditions can lead to a deep understanding of how certain individuals experience living with their illnesses. Sometimes, these descriptive data on how people live with a particular chronic condition appear inconsistent according to gender or age differences. In the context of a qualitative study, both sample size and method are inadequate to test the validity of any apparent distinctions.
Only quantitative study can test these findings with sufficient and appropriate sampling. In Finkler and Correa's study 30 of patients' perceived recovery and the role of the patient-doctor relationship, statistical analysis revealed that only some components of the relationship significantly influenced treatment outcomes. This prompted review of the qualitative data and further development of a qualitative understanding of the patient-doctor relationship.
The above reason for combining methods is arguably the most prevalent in today's climate of continuing scepticism about use of both qualitative and quantitative approaches in single studies. Examples could include combining the results of any studies that separately, but simultaneously, research a chronic disease. So, while one group of researchers is quantifying the efficacy of a particular treatment for breast cancer, another group may be comparing women's experiences of surviving following detection and treatment of breast cancer.
In this case, however, a combined, co-ordinated study design has not really been accomplished. Truly combined method approaches would purposely connect the study objectives and methodologies in the context of a single study or within a planned program of research in order to access a more comprehensive range of information and experience. For example, Martin and Nisa's research 31 intentionally combines qualitative and quantitative information to describe common features of common chronic children's illnesses.
Rutgaizer and Larina's study 32 of pain syndrome in gastroenterological practice, and Murray and Graham's work 33 on community health needs also use a truly combined method approach. The very nature of chronic illness invites longitudinal programs of research. A program of ongoing study, using both qualitative and quantitative research, can provide essential knowledge of the changing nature of the disease and the corresponding experience and needs of persons with the illness.
These study phases could, in turn, be followed by an experimental intervention designed to compare the efficacy of two different treatment regimes, over time and in relation to length and quality of life. A research program conducted by Bates and Rankin-Hill, 35 combining two qualitative and two quantitative projects among chronic pain sufferers, provides a recent example of this longitudinal approach to combined use of methods.
Perhaps discussion, education and debate of the advantages and potentials for working across research paradigms will find a particularly receptive audience in relation to chronic disease conditions.
If research can be improved by linking quantitative and qualitative researchers and using a combined method approach to the study of managing chronic disease, then such collaborations should be encouraged and supported.
People living with long-term illnesses surely deserve the best efforts of the research community. Qualitative inquiry in medical research J Clin Epidemiol ;46 1: JB Lippincot Company, The practice of social research. Wadsworth Publishing Company, Handbook of qualitative research. The logic of scientific discovery. Can J Infect Dis ;8 2: What is this thing called science? An assessment of the nature of science and its methods.
University of Queensland Press, An additional basic science for clinical medicine: The constraining fundamental paradigms. Ann Intern Med ; Mays N, Pope C, editors. Qualitative research in health care a series of seven papers initially published in the BMJ.
BMJ Publishing Group, Experimental and quasi-experimental designs for research. Creswell JW, Research design: Williams and Wilkins, Strauss AL, Corbin J. Basics of qualitative research: In search of more complex answers to research questions: J Adv Nurs ; Prevalence and sources of patients' unmet expectations for care.
Ann Intern Med ; 9: Children's knowledge of cancer and its treatment: J Pediatr ; 2: Psychological impact of cancer on adolescents: J Chronic Dis ; Complementary therapy use by patients with inflammatory bowel disease. Toward integrating qualitative and quantitative methods: Health Educ Q ; The challenges of comparison and measurement. Mays N, Pope C. Rigour and qualitative research. Afifi AA, Breslow L. The maturing of public health. Annu Rev Public Health ; The use of ethnographic interviewing to inform questionnaire construction.
Health Educ Q ;19 1: Controlled evaluation of brief intervention by general practitioners to reduce chronic use of benzodiazepines. Br J Gen Pract ; Borges S, Waitzkin H.
Women's narratives in primary care medical encounters. Women Health ;23 1: Transcending chronic liver disease: J Clin Nurs ;6 1: Finkler K, Correa M. Factors influencing patient recovery in Mexico.
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Mixed Methods: Integrating Quantitative and Qualitative feasible, information-rich data that can enhance traditional quantitative research approaches. II. Uses of Mixed Methods Research Designs Within this type of an outcomes study, the researcher collects and analyzes both quantitative and qualitative data. The qualitative data can be.
Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data can improve an evaluation by ensuring that the limitations of one type of data are balanced by the strengths of another. This will ensure that understanding is improved by integrating different ways of knowing.
Social Science Studies Paper Series 04 on Using both Qualitative and Quantitative Research Rajib Timalsina May In research method, there is a constant debate between scientists who support qualitative and quantitative research approach. When preparing a user research study you might want to think of combining both quantitative and qualitative data upfront. One simple way to obtain both types .
both quantitative and qualitative data in the context of a single study (sensu lato Tashakkori and Teddlie ). Our objectives are to describe how and why we conducted two mixed methods research. If you’re setting up a customer-research project and wondering whether to take a quantitative or a qualitative approach, consider a third option: use both, and take advantage of the opportunities afforded by mixing the two methods.