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There are two types of research methods used in nursing: qualitative and quantitative. Quantitative research involves a systematic approach to data collection and seeks to “minimize bias and maximize validity” (Polit & Beck, 2018, p.41). The goal is to study a particular element, obtain empirical evidence, usually in the form of numerical measurements, and seek to make a generalization of the intervention beyond the study participants to a population as a whole. The quantitative data includes examinations, numerical measurements, and questionnaires, and is objective in nature (Dodd, 2008). An example of a qualitative research study is whether incorporating postpartum depression screening during well-child visits by a pediatrician would increase the detection and treatment of postpartum depression. This study can provide numerical measurements and be generalized to the greater population beyond just the study sample.

Qualitative research studies are used to examine specific experiences as lived through the eyes of a certain patient or population. Qualitative data is often narrative and involves biased and subjective information with the goal of understanding the human experience (Polit & Beck, 2018). The data is often collected using focus groups, interviews, or observation (Dodd, 2008). Qualitative researchers believe that there is more to experiences than what can be captured quantitatively.  Results are numerical only in study population descriptions, i.e. percentage of males and females in the study, but the specific study results are often narrative and include word tables and descriptions (Polit & Beck, 2018). A qualitative study I would be interested in is women’s opinions on the understanding of hormone replacement therapy and their views of their providers’ understanding, teaching, and readiness to prescribe. Another one would be women’s attitude and understanding of hormone replacement therapy using testosterone. This is a similar area to my PICOT and also something I have struggled to find answers for as a patient as well. It would be interesting to see what other women’s views and experiences are as well.




Nursing research is inevitable for advancing the profession and knowledge because it affects patient outcomes. Nursing research is vital to practice evidence-based practice to validate the evidence-based practice outcome.

First, it’s essential to understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative research for research. According to Chuck Miller (May 18, 2020), Qualitative research is primarily exploratory and helps a researcher better understand motivations, needs, processes, and rationale for behaviors (among other things). It provides deep insights into a situation and supports form ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research.

Quantitative research, like online surveys, tends to be more numbers-focused and can help to assess hypotheses from qualitative research. Adding a quantitative approach to qualitative research can provide a more holistic (and quantifiable) view of the subject matter you are researching (Chuck Miller, 2020). The goal of both quantitative and qualitative researchers is to discover the truth about the phenomena in which they are interested (Polit & Beck, 2018).

In the emergency department, we encounter many terminally ill patients with family members who are their primary caretakers. Regarding qualitative research, I would be interested in the following research question: How do family members of terminally-ill patients experience placing their terminally-ill family members on hospice care?  Regarding quantitative research and the emergency department, I would be interested in the following research question: What relationship is between patient satisfaction scores and emergency department wait times?

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