Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research: Review

A choice between quantitative and qualitative research

Qualitative research aims at deciphering reasons and motivations associated with particular phenomenon while quantitative research aims at quantifying data of a sample giving general conclusions on the whole population (Smith & Firth, 2011). Quantitative research is more rigorous than qualitative research because the former involves testing of hypotheses in a research study. Qualitative methods do not use statistical data analyses while the quantitative methods use statistical tests for data analysis. Quantitative methods are useful in studies which involve further description of data observed through qualitative techniques (Bradley, Curry & Devers, 2007).

Research topic and questions to address the problem using correlation analysis

The proposed study would address the following topic:

Why is it that we continue to have so many patients dying of sepsis/infection, when we are so educated as to the cause and how to decrease the rate of illness by washing our hands, or using Purell cleaner for hands that is alcohol based?

The following research questions would be answered by doing data analysis using correlation analysis test:

  1. What combination of factors (i.e. lack of knowledge, lack of interest, lack of strategic washing points and lack of hand washing alcohol-based solutions) contribute to sepsis and death among patients?
  2. What factors have contributed to one of the basic life hygiene (hand washing cab) being fatal?

Correlation tests are used to show a relationship between variables. They do not accommodate the assumption that the variables are dependent (Smith & Firth, 2011). Correlation analyses show or dispute correlation between two variables, an independent variable and a dependent variable. In the first research question, the dependent variables are sepsis and deaths while the independent variables are lack of knowledge, lack of interest, lack of strategic washing points and lack of hand washing alcohol-based solutions. In the second research question, the dependent variable is fatality while the independent variable is the factors leading to the fatality.

Making the study more rigorous

The study could be made more rigorous by utilizing more statistical tests for data analysis. For instance, correlation and regression analyses could be used simultaneously in the same study. The use of more tests leads to better answers and solutions for the formulated hypotheses. However, it could mislead to always assume that quantitative methods are more vigorous than their qualitative counterparts. The design and attributes of a study determine the research methods to be used (Bradley et al., 2007).

Article analysis on

Pittet, D., Dharan, S., Touveneau, S., Sauvan, V., & Perneger, T. V. (1999). Bacterial contamination of the hands of hospital staff during routine patient care. Archives of Internal Medicine159(8), 821.

The qualitative study aimed at correlating the onset of sepsis with the following factors: method of hand cleaning, use of gloves, and length and type of patient care. It used correlation analysis to associate the dependent variables with the independent variables (Pittet, Dharan, Touveneau, Sauvan & Perneger, 1999). Data collection was done by use of structured observations on hospital staff. The study was not very rigorous because it did not utilize many statistical tests. The study could have been made more thorough by using some related tests like the regression analysis. Regression analyses are used to describe how a dependent variable is controlled by an explanatory variable. These tests assume that there is a causal effect to the response variable. However, there are advanced approaches to describe non-dependence relationships.

The study was thorough in the researchers’ efforts to find the link between the independent variables and sepsis and death. The study design did not leave any room for guesswork. The conclusion drawn by the researchers was also very thorough. The researchers asserted that hand washing by hospital staff is influenced by the length and type of patient care. The researchers suggested that sepsis could be prevented by timely washing and disinfecting hands (Pittet et al., 1999).

References

Bradley, E. H., Curry, L. A., & Devers, K. J. (2007). Qualitative data analysis for health services research: developing taxonomy, themes, and theory. Health services research42(4), 1758-1772.

Pittet, D., Dharan, S., Touveneau, S., Sauvan, V., & Perneger, T. V. (1999). Bacterial contamination of the hands of hospital staff during routine patient care. Archives of Internal Medicine159(8), 821.

Smith, J., & Firth, J. (2011). Qualitative data analysis: the framework approach. Nurse researcher18(2), 52.

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