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Nursing Programs

Qualitative Methods

Qualitative Research

  • is inductive in its reasoning
  • the researcher selects a general topic and then begins collecting information to assist in the formation of a hypothesis
  • aims to gain a deep understanding of a specific organization, event, phenomenon, or group of people
  • does not introduce treatments or manipulate variables - meaning emerges from the participants
  • includes first hand experience, truthful reporting and quotations of conversations
  • aims to understand how participants derive meaning from their surroundings and how their meaning influences their behavior


Look for:

  • examination of documents
  • interviews
  • focus workshops
  • participant observation
  • recordings of oral history

Types of Qualitative Research

Case Study
  • attempts to shed light on phenomenon by studying in-depth a single case example
  • the case can be an individual person, event or institution
  • e.g. case study of a patient with chronic bilateral hip pain
Grounded Theory
  • to understand the social and psychological processes that characterize an event or situation
  • concerned with the generation of theory
  • used to uncover things such as social relationships and behaviors of groups
  • e.g. exploring the process of the development of an intention to leave bedside nursing
  • describes the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without looking to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines
  • e.g. women's experience of acute myocardial infarction
  • focuses on the sociology of meaning through close field observation of socio-cultural phenomena
  • typically, the ethnographer focuses on a community
  • e.g. observing medical personnel in a high-volume hospital
  • Describing and examining past events to better understand the present and to anticipate potential effects on the future
  • What caused an outbreak of polio in the past that may contribute to outbreaks today


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