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In-depth Interviews and Narrative Inquiry

In-depth Interviews and Narrative Inquiry

In-depth Interviews and Narrative Inquiry

In-depth Interviews and Narrative Inquiry

NOW FOR AN ORIGINAL PAPER ASSIGNMENT:In-depth Interviews and Narrative Inquiry

Research study design There are two main approaches to research: qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative techniques are used to explore new topics and understanding of the human experience by making sense of or interpreting phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them (Greenhalgh and Taylor 1997, Bowling 2002). It is a rich source of data and examples of

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such research include focus groups, in-depth interviews and narrative inquiry (Polit and Hungler 1995, Greenhalgh and Taylor 1997, Bowling 2002). Qualitative data can be used to generate ideas (theory) or hypotheses, which may then be addressed using quantitative methods (Polit and Hungler 1995).

Quantitative techniques are used to test hypotheses, determine causation (relationships) between variables (characteristics or values that can be changed) and measure the frequency (number) of observations (Fowkes and Fulton 1991, Greenhalgh 1997, Bowling 2002). Quantitative data can be counted or measured and examples of such methods include clinical trials, surveys and cohort studies.

Quantitative methods have traditionally been considered more rigorous than qualitative methods, with randomised controlled trials (RCTs) and systematic reviews being the ‘gold standard’ for determining evidence (Sackett et al 2000). There is an established ranking or hierarchy of evidence for assessing the quality and robustness of methodological approaches (Evans 2003), but quantitative and qualitative methods are both considered valid and complementary when applied correctly, and may also be integrated (Bowling 2002).

Research in nursing has focused largely on qualitative approaches, although there is now a move towards using mixed methods, which combine qualitative and quantitative approaches. As it is beyond the scope of this article to describe the range of qualitative and quantitative research methods, the article focuses on common quantitative research methods. Qualitative approaches to research are dealt with elsewhere within the nursing literature (Ploeg 1999, Holloway and Wheeler 2010, Streubert and Carpenter 2010).

Quantitative approaches The hierarchy of evidence (weighting of the strength of the evidence) for quantitative approaches is generally recognised as set out below. As previously indicated, systematic reviews and RCTs are considered the gold standard for determining evidence.