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Qualitative Research Methods in Health Care

Updated on April 10, 2018

Nursing Research

Nurse's Role in Research

To be able to achieve evidence-based research in nursing practice, it is critical to employ the most appropriate research design and methods. Qualitative research methods have increasingly become significant in the nursing field in the attempt to answer important health questions that are common in the nursing field. Through qualitative research, the report can describe and explain particular phenomena under investigation. According to Macdonald, L. (2016) the most common forms of qualitative research questions are; what’s happening? What’s this? What are? The questions focus mostly on the process rather than the outcome. According to Padmore, J. (2010), the qualitative method helps the researcher to explain, elaborate and clarify the different meanings of various aspects of the human life experience.
There exist many forms of qualitative research, which include ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, life history, and ethnomethodology. It is critical for the nurse researcher to select an approach of study that best suits the questions that require answers. The most common methods of research in nursing include phenomenology, ethnography, and grounded theory (Aday, L. A., & Cornelius, L. J. 2006)
This papers analysis a nursing journal article published on the Sage publications website on a study on perceptions and experiences of health care providers after the implementation of a smoke-free policy. The research study aimed to explore and identify the reactions of the health care providers regarding perceptions, behaviors, and experiences after the plan was implemented. According to Anon (2018) who is the researcher of the article, qualitative research approach was used to conduct semi-structured interviews with twenty-eight healthcare providers in a Canadian hospital for the research.
The qualitative research approach was the most appropriate method of research, in this case, because the sample size was relatively small. According to Alexander (2010), qualitative research utilizes smaller sample sizes as opposed to quantitative research method which requires a large sample size. Two notable ethical challenges arose from using the qualitative research approach. These include anonymity and confidentiality. According to Padmore, J. (2010), in healthcare, confidentiality has different meanings when it comes to research and diagnosis. For healthcare practitioners, privacy means that no personal information is to be revealed except in certain situations. When it comes to researchers, confidentiality is not very specific but has a lot to deal with the outcomes that are to arise from the expected study (Bowman, A., Wyman, J. F., & Peters, J. 2002).
For the research article examined above, the researcher ought to minimize the possibility of intrusion into the study participant’s autonomy in all ways possible. The researcher must ensure that the job security of the participants does not come under threat after the research due to confidentiality issues and anonymity. Another ethical challenge arising from the research study is the fact that the question on review is contradicting regarding legality. The researcher is therefore required to employ strategic methodologies in the research study to avoid the occurrence of conflict with either the institution’s management or legal authorities. In our article’s case, the researcher tackled the issue by using interviews which are much more secretive and specifically targeted individuals. The study participants had an informed consent on the scope of the research, and that addressed the challenge.
The ethical challenge of the researcher has the responsibility of protecting the participants of the study from harmful consequences arising from their participation in the research was significant, and the researcher ensured the use of more confidential methods of data gathering to protect the study participants.

Various research methods are applicable in different study cases especially in the vast field of health care. However, for more specific and objective research studies, the quality of the findings of the research is a priority and only comes by if the researcher employs the appropriate method of research. For the analyzed article, qualitative research approach was appropriate and effective putting into consideration the research scope and expectations of the study.


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