response to PreciousAs doctor of nursing practice (DNP) students begin their journeys to developing their DNP projects, they must first understand the different type of methodologies used in research. By doing so, this would create awareness and allow them to appropriately select the best research methodology to use for their DNP projects.
Quantitative research can be defined as a systematic process used to describe variables and the extent of their associations and correlations with other variables numerically (Bloomfield & Fisher, 2019; Ellis, 2021). In a quantitative research study, researchers are testing hypotheses based on their assumptions between the relationships of the variables in question using the scientific method. According to Ellis (2021), oftentimes, quantitative studies are conducted by healthcare professionals in an attempt to improve clinical practice and patient health outcomes. Because there are a variety of quantitative methodologies, the researcher must know which research design would best fit their study (e.g., descriptive, experimental, correlational, and quasi-experimental) based on the questions they want answered (Bloomfield & Fisher, 2019; Ellis, 2021). For example, if a healthcare professional wanted to test the effectiveness of two drugs for heart failure patients, then they might conduct a randomized controlled trial, an experimental study, to explore the correlations between the two drugs.
A qualitative study is a descriptive approach researchers use to explore subjective views on life in their efforts to improve patient care. It is a study designed to gain a deeper insight and understanding of “real-world issues” based on the perspectives, beliefs, and experiences of the participants (Chalmers & Cowdell, 2021). As the “how” and “why” questions of life are being asked, researchers can select from different types of qualitative studies to answer them—grounded theory, phenomenology, case study, and ethnography (Chalmers & Cowdell, 2021).
Lastly, mixed method studies consist of using both quantitative and qualitative methods in one study to offer a “holistic” approach when answering clinical research questions (Bager-Charleson et al., 2021; Chalmers & Cowdell, 2021). Allegedly, the decision to use a mixed method design eases the researcher’s mind when studying a phenomenon or experience to ensure that important aspects of the study are not being overlooked (Bager-Charleson et al., 2021). For example, while conducting a randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of two drugs for heart failure, the researcher interviews the participants to get a deeper insight on perceived effectiveness, experience pertaining to usage, and potential issues related to medication adherence.
Bager-Charleson, S., McBeath, A., & Vostanis, P. (2021). Building bridges with mixed methods research? Counseling & Psychotherapy Research, 21, 48-51. (Links to an external site.)
Bloomfield, J., & Fisher, M. J. (2019). Quantitative research design. Journal of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses’ Association, 22(2), 27-30.
Chalmers, J., & Cowdell, F. (2021). What are quantitative and qualitative research methods? A brief introduction. Dermatologic Nursing, 20(2), 45-48.
Ellis, P. (2021). Decoding science. Understanding the quality of a quantitative paper. Wounds UK, 17(4), 116-118.


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