RESEARCH – is a systematic inquiry that uses disciplined

methods to answer questions or solve problems. Nursing research is systematic inquiry designed to develop knowledge about issues of importance to the nursing profession, including nursing practice, education, administration, and informatics. In this book, we emphasize clinical nursing research, that is, research designed to generate knowledge to guide nursing practice and to improve the health and quality of life of nurses’ clients.

Paradigms and Methods: Quantitative And Qualitative Research
Research methods are the techniques used by
researchers to structure a study and to gather and analyze information relevant to the research question. Quantitative research, which is most closely allied with the positivist tradition, and qualitative research, which is most often associated with naturalistic inquiry— although positivists sometimes engage in qualitative studies, and naturalistic researchers sometimes collect quantitative information.

Evidence-based practice (EBP), which is broadly defined as the use of the best clinical evidence in making patient care decisions.

ULTIMATE GOAL OF RESEARCH To develop, refine and expand a body of knowledge

The ―Scientific Method‖ and Quantitative Research
Scientific method - refers to a general set of orderly,
disciplined procedures used to acquire information.

Inductive reasoning is the process of developing generalizations from specific observations. For example, a nurse may observe the anxious behavior of (specific) hospitalized children and conclude that (in general) children‘s separation from their parents is stressful.

Quantitative researchers use deductive reasoning to
generate hunches that are tested in the real world. Quantitative researchers gather empirical evidence—evidence that is rooted in objective reality and gathered directly or indirectly through the senses. Empirical evidence, then, consists of observations gathered through sight, hearing taste, touch, or smell.

Deductive reasoning is the process of developing specific predictions from general principles. For example, if we assume that separation anxiety occurs in hospitalized children (in general), then we might predict that (specific) children in Memorial Hospital whose parents do not room-in will manifest symptoms of stress. PARADIGMS FOR NURSING RESEARCH A paradigm is a world view, a general perspective on the complexities of the real world. Paradigms for human inquiry are often characterized in terms of the ways in which they respond to basic philosophical questions: • Ontologic: What is the nature of reality? • Epistemologic: What is the relationship between the inquirer and that being studied? • Axiologic: What is the role of values in the inquiry? • Methodologic: How should the inquirer obtain knowledge?

Quantitative—that is, numeric information that results
from some type of formal measurement and that is analyzed with statistical procedures.

Basic research is undertaken to extend the base of
knowledge in a discipline, or to formulate or refine a theory. For example, a researcher may perform an indepth study to better understand normal grieving processes, without having explicit nursing applications in mind. Basic research is appropriate for discovering general principles of human behavior and biophysiologic processes

Applied research

Assumption - refers to a basic principle that is
believed to be true without proof or verification

Determinism - refers to the belief that phenomena are
not haphazard or random events but rather have antecedent causes.

focuses on finding solutions to existing problems. For example, a study to determine the effectiveness of a nursing intervention to ease grieving would be applied research. Applied research is designed to indicate how these principles can be used to solve problems in nursing practice.

The specific purposes of nursing research include identification, description, exploration, explanation, prediction, and control.



Qualitative methods are especially useful for exploring the full nature of a little-understood phenomenon. Exploratory qualitative research is designed to shed light on the various ways in which a phenomenon is manifested and on underlying processes. EXPLORATORY:

Prediction and Control
Many phenomena defy explanation. Yet it is frequently possible to make predictions and to control phenomena based on research findings, even in the absence of complete understanding. For example, research has shown that the incidence of Down syndrome in infants increases with the age of the mother. We can predict that a woman aged 40 years is at higher risk of bearing a child with Down syndrome than is a woman aged 25 years. We can partially control the outcome by educating women about the risks and offering amniocentesis to women older than 35 years of age. Note, however, that the ability to predict and control in this example does not depend on an explanation of why older women are at a higher risk of having an abnormal child. In many examples of nursing and health-related studies—typically, quantitative ones—prediction and control are key objectives. Studies designed to test the efficacy of a nursing intervention are ultimately concerned with controlling patient outcomes or the costs of care.

The goals of explanatory research are to understand the underpinnings of specific natural phenomena, and to explain systematic relationships among phenomena. Explanatory research is often linked to theories, which represent a method of deriving, organizing, and integrating ideas about the manner in which phenomena are interrelated. Whereas descriptive research provides new information, and exploratory research provides promising insights, explanatory research attempts to offer understanding of the underlying causes or full nature of a phenomenon.

Example Of a Quantitative Study
Thomas and Moore (2001) conducted a study to determine the effectiveness of a preoperative pain management intervention for relieving pain among elders undergoing surgery. McDonald (who had conducted earlier research on the topic of pain and pain management) and her colleagues developed a preoperative intervention that taught pain management and pain communication skills. The content was specifically geared to older adults undergoing surgery. Forty elders, all older than age 65 years, were recruited to participate in the study. Half of these elders were assigned, at random, to participate in the special intervention; the remaining half got usual preoperative care. Postoperative pain was measured for both groups on the evening of the surgery, on postoperative day 1, and on postoperative day 2. The results supported the researchers‘ predictions that (a) pain in both groups would decline over time; and (b) those receiving the special intervention would experience greater decreases in pain over time. PAIN CAN BE MEASURE USING OF PAIN RATING SCALE (0-10)

Analysis of the interview transcripts revealed five themes. The researchers then compared and discussed the themes from all the interviews until consensus was reached. and to explore the effects the process had on the individuals and their families. and information is collected exclusively within that setting. This thorough and careful study provides a firsthand perspective on the experiences of people going through the process of selecting an appropriate long term care facility for aging family members. Concepts. the study suggests that increased communication—from the acute setting to the aged care facilities being considered could play an important role in decreasing the stress of this guilt-ridden experience. For example. Researchers (especially quantitative researchers) also use the term construct. the people who are being studied. and Constructs Research focuses on abstract rather than tangible phenomena.. The clinical implications of the study are strengthened by the fact that the researchers took steps to ensure its rigor. was labeled ―dealing with the system—cutting through the maze. One of the central implications for practice of this study concerns the need to revise the search and selection process to make it more efficient in terms of time and effort of the sponsors and residents. the researchers took steps to weigh their evidence for their thematic conclusions against potentially competing explanations of the data. These interviews were audio taped and then transcribed. lack of control. by filling out a questionnaire—may be called respondents. Naturalistic settings (in the field). and the feeling of being at the system‘s mercy.) Informants or key informants in a qualitative study Research Settings Research can be conducted in a wide variety of locales in health care facilities. Site is the overall location for the research—it could be an entire community Settings are the more specific places where data collection occurs. They were all asked to talk about their personal experiences of the search and selection process and its effect on their well-being.‖ Dealing with the system was perceived as being in the middle of a war zone. One theme. When researchers go into the field to collect their information. Sponsors felt pressured to make on-the-spot decisions to accept or reject a place in a facility once it had become available. Face-to-face in-depth interviews were conducted with residents in the aged care facilities and with family members in their homes. These abstractions are referred to as concepts or. Like a concept. in qualitative studies. the setting and the site are the same. the transcripts of these interviews were read by at least two members of the research team who individually identified themes from each interview. and resilience are all abstractions of particular aspects of human behavior and characteristics. A second major theme was labeled ―Urgency—moving them on and in. they are engaged in fieldwork. In some cases. : LABORATORY THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A STUDY Phenomena. in classrooms. Twelve residents and 20 of their sponsors (the primary contact person responsible for the resident) participated in the study. the terms pain. .quantitative studies Subjects or study participants . Contributing to this perception of being at war with the system was the stress of having to deal with multiple aged care facilities on an individual basis. and so on.g.Research Example Of a Qualitative Study Cheek and Ballantyne (2001) undertook a study to describe the search and selection process for an aged care facility after discharge of a family member from acute hospital settings in Australia. Moreover. In addition.‖ Sponsors felt a sense of urgency in finding a suitable facility to have their family member transferred to from the acute setting. Subjects who provide information to researchers by answering questions directly—e. For a quantitative study. coping. phenomena. a construct The person who undertakes the research is the: Quantitative RESEARCHER INVESTIGATOR & Qualitative SCIENTIST . grief. This sense of battle was related to confusion. for example. as when the selected site is a large hospital. in people‘s homes. such as in people‘s homes or offices.

if everyone weighed 150 pounds. For example. is any quality of a person. then. or conceptual model variable. abstract explanation of some aspect of reality. It is a variable because not everybody has this disease.e. Variables – Subject To Change In quantitative studies. Weight. nearly all aspects of human beings and their environment are variables. researchers often start with a theory. and body temperature are all variables (i. it would be a constant. as the name implies. In a quantitative study. If it rained continuously and the temperature was always 70_F. anxiety levels. or situation that varies or takes on different values.refers to an abstraction or mental representation inferred from situations or behaviors Theories and Conceptual Models A theory is a systematic. Researchers have studied what variables might be linked to lung cancer and have discovered that cigarette smoking is related. A variable. lung cancer research is concerned with the variable of lung cancer. group. is something that varies. weight would not be a . framework. A variable. CONSTANT VARIABLE – there are no changes (ex: 24 carat gold) For example. concepts are usually referred to as variables. each of these properties varies from one person to another). Smoking is also a variable because not everyone smokes. income.. To quantitative researchers. Variables are the central building blocks of quantitative studies. weather would not be a variable.

and O). or on researchers‘ clinical experience (or on a combination of these). as noted. and so on. B. 3. researchers investigate the extent to which lung cancer (the dependent variable) depends on smoking (the independent variable). or more. if a researcher is interested in testing the effectiveness of patient controlled analgesia as opposed to intramuscular analgesia in relieving pain after surgery. Another study might investigate the effect of unwanted births (the independent variable) on the incidence of child abuse (the dependent variable). 1.7. For example. health beliefs. Variables that take on only a handful of discrete nonquantitative values are categorical variables. The cause of lung cancer is smoking The effect of wrong nursing actions is pain The cause of pain is the wrong nursing action A dependent variable in one study could be an independent variable in another study. Or. Researchers‘ world view and their outlook on nursing shape how those concepts are defined.The variable gender has only two values or two choices ex: male and female Pregnant/not pregnant HIV positive/HIV negative Alive/dead. because a number such as 1. Dependent versus Independent Variables Independent variable presumed cause or antecedent Does a nursing intervention cause more rapid recovery? Does smoking cause lung cancer? Dependent variable Presumed effect or outcome For example. Between the values 1 and 3. Definitions of Concepts and Variables The concepts in which researchers are interested are. some patients would be given patient-controlled analgesia and others would receive intramuscular analgesia. Dichotomous variable . investigators may be concerned with the extent to which patients‘ perception of pain (the dependent variable) depends on different wrong nursing actions (the independent variable).dependent variable (effect) Smoking . abstractions of observable phenomena. 1. a continuous variable can assume an infinite number of values between two points.independent variable (cause) The effect of smoking is lung cancer.independent variable (cause) Pain . A conceptual definition presents the abstract or theoretical meaning of the concepts being studied. The value for number of children is discrete. the only possible value is 2. and Categorical Variables Continuous variables have values that can be represented on a continuum. consider the continuous variable weight: between 1 and 2 pounds. For example. AB.Continuous. In theory.005. Attribute variables are often characteristics of research subjects.dependent variable (effect) Nursing actions . Discrete variable is one that has a finite number of values between any two points. a study might examine the effect of nurses‘ contraceptive counseling (the independent variable) on unwanted births (the dependent variable). Active variables For example. they might answer 0. if people were asked how many children they had. 1. such as their age. on a firm understanding of relevant literature. representing discrete quantities. In the context of this study. Another example is blood type (A. Discrete. or weigh Lung cancer .33333. method of pain management is a variable because different patients are given different analgesic methods.5 is not a meaningful value. . the number of values is limitless: 1. For example. 2. Conceptual meanings are based on theoretical formulations.

coding is the process of translating verbal data into numeric form. the researcher collects primarily qualitative data. or have you generally been in good spirits?‖ Here.An operational definition of a concept specifies the operations that researchers must perform to collect the required information. Both qualitative and quantitative studies examine relationships. where 0 means ‗not at all‘ and 10 means ‗the most possible‘?‖ In qualitative studies. ―Tell me about how you‘ve been feeling lately— have you felt sad or depressed at intervention but merely observe & collect data. Narrative information can be obtained by having conversations with the participants. researchers develop coding categories that represent important themes in the data. Typically. In this example. It is a non experimental res. researchers repeatedly have found a relationship between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. ―Thinking about the past week. how depressed would you say you have been on a scale from 0 to 10. information in numeric form. an operation known as coding is required to make research data amenable to analysis. . In quantitative coding studies. such as diaries. Research data (singular. A relationship is a bond or a connection between phenomena. a researcher might do research to determine the percentage of patients receiving intravenous (IV) therapy who experience IV infiltration. For example. Operational definitions should correspond to conceptual definitions. datum) are the pieces of information obtained in the course of the investigation. the data consist of rich narrative descriptions of each participant‘s emotional state. that is. suppose we were conducting a quantitative study in which a key variable was depression. Example: Suppose we were studying depression qualitatively. Descriptive . the variable is IV infiltration versus no infiltration. We might ask. For example. answers to a question about a subject’s gender might be coded “1” for female and “2” for male (or vice versa). we would need to measure how depressed study participants were. As an example. Quantitative researchers collect primarily quantitative data—that is. design. by making detailed notes about how participants behave in naturalistic settings. or by obtaining narrative records from participants. but in different ways. As an example of a descriptive study. In qualitative coding. narrative descriptions.

Terms such as more than and heavier than imply that as we observe a change in one variable. Each statement expresses a predicted relationship between weight (the dependent variable) and a measurable independent variable. convincing. are people who smoke more likely or less likely to get lung cancer than those who do not?) How strong is the relationship between the variables? (e.g.g. Bias is a major concern in designing a study because it can threaten the study‘s validity and trustworthiness.. and dependability. transferability. let us consider as our dependent variable a person‘s body weight. Validity is a more complex concept that broadly concerns the soundness of the study‘s evidence—that is. Dependability refers to evidence that is consistent and stable. an especially important aspect of trustworthiness. caloric intake. the greater will be the person‘s weight. a bias is an influence that produces a distortion in the study results. the reliability of the thermometer would be highly suspect. Quantitative studies typically address one or more of the following questions about relationships: Does a relationship between variables exist? (e. is cigarette smoking related to lung cancer?) What is the direction of the relationship between variables? (e. Systematic bias. if a thermometer measured Bob‘s temperature as 98.1F one minute and as 102. Caloric intake: People with higher caloric intake will be heavier than those with lower caloric intake. we would predict (in the absence of any other information) that Nate is also heavier than Tom. such as more than. does smoking cause lung cancer? Does some other factor cause both smoking and lung cancer?) Quantitative researchers use several criteria to assess the quality of a study.g. we can make a prediction about the nature of the relationship to the dependent variable: Height: Taller people will weigh more than shorter people.. If Nate is taller than Tom. whether the findings are cogent. less than.. For each of these independent variables. In general. and so on. it is the degree to which study results are derived from characteristics of participants and the study context.g. is achieved to the extent that the research methods engender confidence in the truth of the data and in the researchers‘ interpretations of the data. Confirmability is similar to objectivity. What variables are related to (associated with) a person‘s weight? Some possibilities are height. Most quantitative studies are undertaken to determine whether relationships exist among variables. Relationships are usually expressed in quantitative terms. Exercise: The lower the amount of exercise. Trustworthiness encompasses several different dimensions—credibility. Triangulation is the use of multiple sources or referents to draw conclusions about what constitutes the truth. how powerful is the relationship between smoking and lung cancer? How probable is it that smokers will be lung cancer victims?) What is the nature of the relationship between variables? (e. and two of the most important criteria are reliability and validity. Biases can affect the quality of evidence in both qualitative and quantitative studies. Patterns of interconnected themes and processes are identified as a means of understanding the whole. For example. Credibility. confirmability.Example: Study on absentism in St Lukes Study on environmental pollution in Quezon Quantitative studies. . a handful of study participants might fail to provide totally accurate information as a result of extreme fatigue at the time the data were collected.5_F the next minute. on the other hand. and well grounded. not from researcher biases. results when the bias is consistent or uniform. we are likely to observe a corresponding change in weight. For example. Random bias.. Reliability refers to the accuracy and consistency of information obtained in a study. and exercise.

Each circle represents all the variability associated with a particular variable. Overlapping circles indicate the degree to which the variables are related to each other. The large circle in the center stands for the dependent variable. Active manipulation Active participation to sample population Controlled setting – laboratory unit Nonexperimental research Researchers collect data without changes or introducing treatments. Observe sample subject Massive participation Describe and record Natural setting – where pop. In other words. Experimental research Researchers actively introduce an intervention or treatment. research control attempts to eliminate contaminating factors that might cloud the relationship between the variables that are of central interest. Smaller circles stand for factors contributing to infant birth weight. Research control involves holding constant other influences on the dependent variable so that the true relationship between the independent and dependent variables can be understood. infant birth weight. exists making . One of the central features of quantitative studies is that they typically involve efforts to control tightly various aspects of the research.

Ethnographers typically engage in extensive fieldwork. and reviewing ideas with colleagues or advisers. theorizing. Phase 2: The Design and Planning Phase Step 6: Selecting a Research Design Ethnography is the primary research tradition within anthropology. Also known as universe Step 9: Designing the Sampling Plan Probability sampling methods. Step 7: Developing Protocols for the Intervention Step 8: Identifying the Population to be Studied Phase 1: The Conceptual Phase The early steps in a quantitative research project typically involve activities with a strong conceptual or intellectual element. Representativeness Step 10: Specifying Methods to Measure the Research Variables Step 11: Developing Methods for Safeguarding Human/Animal Rights . Research design Is the overall plan for obtaining answers to the questions being studied and for handling some of the difficulties encountered during the research process. and provides a framework for studying the meanings. reconceptualizing.Phenomenology which has its disciplinary roots in both philosophy and psychology and is rooted in a philosophical tradition. Step 1: Formulating and Delimiting the Problem Step 2: Reviewing the Related Literature Literature review provides a foundation on which to base new knowledge and usually is conducted well before any data are collected in quantitative studies. every member of the population has an equal probability of being included in the sample. Architectural backbone of the study. deductive reasoning. and a firm grounding in previous research on the topic of interest. often participating to the extent possible in the life of the culture under study. During this phase. insight. and experiences of a defined cultural group in a holistic fashion. patterns. These activities include reading. conceptualizing. In a probability sample. Step 3: Undertaking Clinical Fieldwork Step 4: Defining the Framework and Developing Conceptual Definitions Step 5: Formulating Hypotheses A hypothesis is a statement of the researcher‘s expectations about relationships between the variables under investigation. researchers call on such skills as creativity. Population refers to the aggregate or totality of those conforming to a set of specifications. which use random procedures for selecting subjects.

prior empirical knowledge. The purpose of research is to ―solve‖ the problem—or to contribute to its solution—by accumulating relevant information. its context and significance. . Problem Statements Conceptualizing and Planning a Qualitative Study 1. by contrast. although the amount of time spent collecting data varies considerably from one study to the next. and clinical experience. Both qualitative and quantitative researchers identify a research problem within a broad topic area of interest. A research problem is an enigmatic. In general. 5. Qualitative reports. Disseminating Qualitative Findings Quantitative reports almost never present raw data— that is. A problem statement identifies the nature of the problem that is being addressed in the study and. Doing Literature Reviews 3. Research Design in Qualitative Studies Emergent design—a design that emerges during the course of data collection. but narrow enough in scope to serve as a guide to study design. Conducting the Qualitative Study 7. Selecting and Gaining Entrée Into Research Sites 4. Step 13: Collecting the Data Step 14: Preparing the Data for Analysis Phase 4: The Analytic Phase Step 15: Analyzing the Data Step 16: Interpreting the Results Interpretation is the process of making sense of the results and of examining their implications.Step 12: Finalizing and Reviewing the Research Plan Phase 3: The Empirical Phase The empirical portion of quantitative studies involves collecting research data and preparing those data for analysis. which are numeric values. perplexing. or troubling condition. typically. the problem statement should be broad enough to include central concerns. Addressing Ethical Issues 6. data in the form they were collected. Identifying the Research Problem 2. the empirical phase is one of the most time-consuming parts of the investigation. Phase 5: The Dissemination Phase Step 17: Communicating the Findings Step 18: Utilizing the Findings in Practice usually filled with rich verbatim passages directly from participants. are A problem statement is an expression of the dilemma or disturbing situation that needs investigation for the purposes of providing understanding and direction. The process of interpretation begins with an attempt to explain the findings within the context of the theoretical framework. A research problem is a perplexing or enigmatic situation that a researcher wants to address through disciplined inquiry. A problem statement articulates the problem to be addressed and indicates the need for a study. In many studies.


Y is the predicted effect. essence Ethnographic studies: Culture.Simple hypotheses state a relationship between a single independent variable. outcome. or consequence of X. Grounded theory: Processes. which is the presumed cause. social structures. and a single dependent variable. A complex hypothesis is a prediction of a relationship between two (or more) independent variables and/or two (or more) dependent variables. meaning. lived experience. antecedent. Simple versus Complex Hypotheses Simple hypothesis as a hypothesis that expresses an expected relationship between one independent and one dependent variable. myths. or precondition. which we will call X. social interactions Phenomenological studies: Experience. roles. . cultural behavior RESEARCH HYPOTHESES A hypothesis is a prediction about the relationship between two or more variables. which we will label Y.

The null form of the hypothesis used in our preceding examples would be a statement such as: “Patients’ age is unrelated to their risk of falling” or “Older patients are just as likely as younger patients to fall. declarative. or scientific hypotheses) are statements of expected relationships between variables. hypotheses should be worded in the present tense Research versus Null Hypotheses Research hypotheses (also referred to as substantive. Null hypotheses (or statistical hypotheses) state that there is no relationship between the independent and dependent variables. .In general.” The null hypothesis might be compared with the assumption of innocence of an accused criminal in our system of justice: the variables are assumed to be ―innocent‖ of any relationship until they can be shown ―guilty‖ through appropriate statistical procedures. The null hypothesis represents the formal statement of this assumption of innocence.

or variables under study. The significance of and need for the study. The Method Section The research design. the following questions: What were the research questions? What methods did the researcher use to address those questions? What did the researcher find? And what are the implications for nursing practice? Readers can review an abstract to assess whether the entire report is of interest. The statement of purpose. and research questions or hypotheses to be tested A review of the related literature. The Introduction The central phenomena. concepts. The abstract answers.Content of Research Reports The Abstract The abstract is a brief description of the study placed at the beginning of the journal article. The subjects Measures and data collection Study procedures . The theoretical framework. in about 100 to 200 words.




Coercion involves explicit or implicit threats of penalty from failing to participate in a study or excessive rewards from agreeing to participate. Make research personnel sign confidentiality pledges if they have access to data or identifying information. THE PRINCIPLE OF JUSTICE Justice which includes participants‘ right to fair treatment and their right to privacy.CONCEPTUAL MODELS USED IN NURSING RESEARCH THE PRINCIPLE OF BENEFICENCE One of the most fundamental ethical principles in research is that of beneficence. such as by observing through a one-way mirror. For example. This might happen. for example. responses would be anonymous. if questionnaires were distributed to a group of nursing home residents and were returned without any . One technique that researchers sometimes use in such situations is covert data collection or concealment— the collection of information without participants‘ knowledge and thus without their consent. Restrict access to identifying information to a small number of people on a need-to-know basis. the person‘s right to refuse participation. videotaping with hidden equipment.. The researcher might choose to obtain the information through concealed methods. and have the power of free choice. A more controversial technique is the use of deception. Maintain identifying information in a locked file. When impossible. are capable of comprehending the information. do no harm. and likely risks and benefits. Assign an identification (ID) number to each participant and attach the ID number rather than other identifiers to the actual data. unless the researcher has been given explicit permission to share it. if a researcher wanted to observe people‘s behavior in a real-world setting and was concerned that doing so openly would result in changes in the very behavior of interest. take steps to disguise the person‘s identity. For example. the researcher‘s responsibilities. A promise of confidentiality is a pledge that any information participants provide will not be publicly reported in a manner that identifies them and will not be made accessible to others. which is a mild form of misinformation. Self-determination means that prospective participants have the right to decide voluntarily whether to participate in a study. Deception can involve deliberately withholding information about the study. appropriate need to be implemented. INFORMED CONSENT Informed consent means that participants have adequate information regarding the research. family members. such as through the use of a fictitious name. Anonymity occurs when even the researcher cannot link participants to their data. identifying information on them. enabling them to consent to or decline participation voluntarily. or providing participants with false information. This means that research information should not be shared with strangers nor with people known to the participants (e. address) from participants only when essential. if information for a specific participant is reported.g. without risking any penalty or prejudicial treatment. Enter no identifying information onto computer files. Full disclosure means that the researcher has fully described the nature of the study. which encompasses the maxim: Above all. physicians.. Destroy identifying information as quickly as practical. or observing while pretending to be engaged in other activities. in studying high school students‘ use of drugs we might describe the research as a study of students‘ health practices. anonymity is confidentiality procedures Obtain identifying information (e. Report research information in the aggregate.g. name. other nurses).

2. Comparison of one group’s status under different circumstances 4. the researcher observes phenomena as they naturally occur without intervening. Comparison based on relative rankings. researchers play an active role by introducing the intervention.ASPECTS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH DESIGN Intervention In such experimental studies. Comparisons 1. Comparison between two or more groups. . Comparison with other studies. In other studies. 3. referred to as nonexperimental studies. 5. Comparison of one group’s status at two or more points in time.

The samples are usually drawn from specific age-related subgroups. not passive observers. Crosssectional studies are appropriate for describing the status of phenomena or for describing relationships among phenomena at a fixed point in time. Early physical scientists learned that although pure observation of phenomena is valuable. The term panel refers to the sample of subjects providing data. (A study involving the collection of postoperative patient data on vital signs over a 2-day period would not be described as longitudinal. including the use of a control group Randomization—the experimenter assigns subjects to a control or experimental group on a random basis Cohort studies are a particular kind of trend study in which specific subpopulations are examined over time. patients who have received a particular nursing intervention or clinical treatment may be followed to ascertain the long-term effects of the treatment. Follow-up studies are similar to panel studies.) There are several types of longitudinal designs. As another example. For example. the same people are used to supply data at two or more points in time. A true experimental design is characterized by the following properties: Manipulation—the experimenter does something to at least some subjects Control—the experimenter introduces controls over the experimental situation. EXPERIMENTS Experiment.Cross-Sectional Designs Cross-sectional designs involve the collection of data at one point in time: the phenomena under study are captured during one period of data collection. but are usually undertaken to determine the subsequent development of individuals who have a specified condition or who have received a specified intervention—unlike panel studies. Panel studies. samples of premature infants may be followed to assess their later perceptual and motor development. . For example.* two or more age cohorts are studied longitudinally so that both changes over time and generational (cohort) differences can be detected. we might be interested in determining whether psychological symptoms in menopausal women are correlated contemporaneously with physiologic symptoms. complexities occurring in nature often made it difficult to understand important relationships. For example. which have samples drawn from more general populations. the cohort of women born from 1946 to 1950 may be studied at regular intervals with respect to health care utilization. In a design known as a cross-sequential design. Longitudinal Designs A study in which data are collected at more than one point in time over an extended period uses a longitudinal design. Trend studies are investigations in which samples from a population are studied over time with respect to some phenomenon. researchers are active agents.

productivity increased. The term control group refers to a group of subjects whose performance on a dependent variable is used to evaluate the performance of the experimental group or treatment group (the group that receives the intervention) on the same dependent variable. and both groups might alter their actions accordingly. that is. The term Randomization (also called random assignment) involves placing subjects in groups at random. that is. might be aware of their participation in a study. Experimental Designs QUASI-EXPERIMENTS Quasi-experiments. the experimental treatment or intervention) constitutes the independent variable. Regardless of what change was introduced.. such as light and working hours. nurses and hospital staff. an intervention. whether the light was made better or worse. Control is achieved in an experimental study by manipulating.e. and by using a control group. as well as patients. cluster randomization. were varied to determine their effects on worker productivity. by carefully preparing the experimental protocols. LACK OF RANDOMIZATION Factorial Design This factorial design permits the testing of multiple hypotheses in a single experiment. if an experiment to investigate the effect of a new postoperative patient routine were conducted. like true experiments. Random essentially means that every subject has an equal chance of being assigned to any group. there is no systematic bias in the groups with respect to attributes that could affect the dependent variable. by randomizing. which involves randomly assigning clusters of individuals to different treatment groups is derived from a series of experiments conducted at the Hawthorne plant of the Western Electric Corporation in which various environmental conditions. For example. . If subjects are placed in groups randomly. Hawthorne effect. involve the manipulation of an independent variable. The introduction of that ―something‖ (i.Manipulation involves doing something to study participants. which is a placebo effect.


One reason for using a Nonexperimental design is that a vast number of human characteristics are inherently not subject to experimental manipulation (e. we might want to test the hypothesis that the incidence of rubella during pregnancy (the independent variable) is related to infant abnormalities (the dependent variable).. we would begin with a sample of pregnant women. That is. including nursing studies. Natural Experiments Researchers are sometimes able to study the outcomes of a ―natural experiment‖ in which a group exposed to natural or other phenomena that have important health consequences are compared with a noNexposed group. health beliefs. Ex post facto research is more often referred to as correlational research. are Nonexperimental. the researcher is interested in a present outcome and attempts to determine antecedent factors that caused it. the effects of these characteristics on other phenomena cannot be studied experimentally. without any intervention. the first of which has been called ex post facto research. blood type. including some who contracted rubella during their pregnancy and others who did not. Ex post facto research attempts to understand relationships among phenomena as they naturally occur. personality. For example. NONEXPERIMENTAL RESEARCH Reasons for Undertaking Nonexperimental Research Most studies involving human subjects. To test this hypothesis prospectively.‖ This means that the study has been conducted after variations in the independent variable have occurred. . Ex Post Facto/Correlational Research There are two broad classes of Nonexperimental research.Retrospective Designs Studies with a retrospective design are ones in which a phenomenon existing in the present is linked to phenomena that occurred in the past. Prospective Nonexperimental Designs A Nonexperimental study with a prospective design (sometimes called a prospective cohort design) starts with a presumed cause and then goes forward in time to the presumed effect. before the study was initiated.g. The literal translation of the Latin term ex post facto is ―from after the fact. Such natural experiments are Nonexperimental because the researcher does not intervene but simply observes the outcome of an external event or circumstance. and medical diagnosis).

elements are selected by nonrandom methods. then. D.S. Ed. A sample. nurses aged 30 to 45 years. we could specify three strata consisting of nurses younger than 30 years of age. In nursing research. the population could be defined as all U. Samples and Sampling Sampling is the process of selecting a portion of the population to represent the entire population.D.BASIC SAMPLING CONCEPTS IN QUANTITATIVE STUDIES Populations A population is the entire aggregation of cases in which a researcher is interested. Representative sample is one whose key characteristics closely approximate those of the population. the elements are usually humans. For instance. is a subset of population elements. . suppose our population was all RNs currently employed in the United States.N. Descriptive Research The second broad class of Nonexperimental studies is descriptive research. established by one or more characteristics. This population could be divided into two strata based on gender. Sampling designs are classified as either probability sampling or nonprobability sampling.Sc.D. Strata are often used in the sample selection process to enhance the sample‘s representativeness. citizens who are registered nurses (RNs) and who have acquired a Ph. or strata. Descriptive Correlational Studies is to describe the relationship among variables rather than to infer cause-and-effect relationships. or other doctoral-level degree. Nonprobability samples... Probability sampling involves random selection in choosing the elements. For instance. Descriptive correlational studies are usually cross-sectional. Strata Sometimes. The purpose of descriptive studies is to observe. describe. An element is the most basic unit about which information is collected. A stratum is a mutually exclusive segment of a population. Alternatively. and document aspects of a situation as it naturally occurs and sometimes to serve as a starting point for hypothesis generation or theory development. it is useful to think of populations as consisting of two or more subpopulations.. if a nurse researcher were studying American nurses with doctoral degrees. and nurses 46 years or older.

Snowball sampling (also called network sampling or chain sampling) is a variant of convenience sampling. With this approach. Purposive Sampling Purposive sampling or judgmental sampling is based on the belief that researchers‘ knowledge about the population can be used to hand-pick sample members. quota. who are judged to be typical of the population or particularly knowledgeable about the issues under study. Simple random sampling is the most basic probability sampling design. Because the more complex probability sampling designs incorporate features of simple random sampling. Researchers might decide purposely to select subjects . and purposive. Simple Random Sampling Quota Sampling A quota sample is one in which the researcher identifies population strata and determines how many participants are needed from each stratum. Convenience Sampling Convenience sampling entails using the most conveniently available people as study participants. cluster. Random sampling involves a selection process in which each element in the population has an equal. PROBABILITY SAMPLING Probability sampling involves the random selection of elements from a population. The four most commonly used probability sampling methods are simple random.NONPROBABILITY SAMPLING Three primary methods of nonprobability sampling are convenience. independent chance of being selected. early sample members are asked to identify and refer other people who meet the eligibility criteria. as it is sometimes called. A faculty member who distributes questionnaires to nursing students in a class is using a convenience sample. stratified random. and systematic sampling. or an accidental sample. the procedures involved are described here in some detail.

Systematic Sampling Systematic sampling involves the selection of every kth case from a list or group. and willing to talk at length with researchers. there is a successive random sampling of units. Types of Qualitative Sampling Qualitative researchers usually eschew probability samples. if we wanted to study the experiences of people with frequent nightmares. SAMPLING IN QUALITATIVE RESEARCH The aim of most qualitative studies is to discover meaning and to uncover multiple realities. such as every 10th person on a patient list or every 100th person in a directory of American Nurses Association members. the aim of stratified sampling is to enhance representativeness. the population is first divided into two or more strata. A random sample is not the best method of selecting people who will make good informants. articulate. Various nonprobability sampling designs have been used by qualitative researchers. we might have difficulty readily identifying a sufficient number of potential participants. In cluster sampling. For example. we might first draw a random sample of nursing schools and then draw a sample of students from the selected schools. reflective. Convenience Sampling Sometimes referred to in qualitative studies as a volunteer sample. Stratified sampling designs subdivide the population into homogeneous subsets from which an appropriate number of elements are selected at random. the population of full-time nursing students in the United States would be difficult to list and enumerate for the purpose of drawing a simple or stratified random sample. Cluster Sampling For many populations. For example. Volunteer samples are especially likely to be used when researchers need to have potential participants come forward and identify themselves. . people who are knowledgeable. or clusters. it is impossible to obtain a listing of all elements.Stratified Random Sampling In stratified random sampling. As with quota sampling. The first unit is large groupings. that is. and so generalizability is not a guiding criterion. In drawing a sample of nursing students.

The mode is simple to determine. codes. CENTRAL TENDENCY Frequency distributions are a good way to organize data and clarify patterns. Because of this property. in the study of people with nightmares. however. In the following distribution of numbers. The mean is the index usually referred to as an average. For example. such indexes are called measures of central tendency. hand-picking cases that will most benefit the study. Because an index of typicalness is more likely to come from the center of a distribution than from either extreme.‖ The Mean The mean is equal to the sum of all scores divided by the total number of scores. Research on prostitution I known location of prostitution – ermita Prost also in pasay and Makati. The Mode The mode is the most frequently occurring score value in a distribution. Researchers usually ask such questions as. Judgmental sampling.5. As an example. Often. the median is often the preferred index of central tendency when a distribution is skewed. iwill not choose pasay and Makati only also ermita b‘coz I havepersonal info. ―What is the average oxygen consumption of myocardial infarction patients during bathing?‖ or ―What is the average stress level of AIDS patients?‖ Such questions seek a single number that best represents a distribution of data values. which is the median for this set of numbers. we can readily see that the mode is 53: 50 51 51 52 53 53 53 53 54 55 56 Purposive Sampling Sampling strategy—that is. The computational formula for a mean is . Theoretical Sampling The process of data collection for generating theory whereby the analyst jointly collects. in order to develop his theory as it emerges. such as people who vary in age. For example. it is not computed but rather is established by inspecting a frequency distribution. The Median The median is the point in a distribution above which and below which 50% of cases fall. Consider making one change to the previous set of numbers: 2 2 3 3 4 5 6 7 8 99 Although the last value was increased from 9 to 99.5. based on the personal knowledge / info. a pattern is of less interest than an overall summary. We could also ask for referrals to people who would add other dimensions to the sample.Snowball Sampling This method is sometimes referred to as nominated sampling because it relies on the nominations of others already in the sample. socioeconomic status. and analyzes his data and decides what data to collect next and where to find them. The point that has 50% of the cases above and below it is halfway between 4 and 5. race. the median is still 4. the median may be abbreviated as Md or Mdn. and so on. we could ask early respondents if they knew anyone else who had the same problem and who was articulate. consider the following set of values: 2233456789 The value that divides the cases exactly in half is 4. In research reports.

.pound subject in this example for one weighing 275 pounds. the mean is affected by each and every score. the mean would increase from 145 to 155. Such a substitution would leave the median unchanged.Let us apply this formula to compute the mean weight of eight subjects with the following weights: 85 109 120 135 158 177 181 195 Unlike the median. If we were to exchange the 195.

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