Qualitativeand Quantitative Methods
Qualitativeand Quantitative Methods
Quantitativeand qualitative research methods exhibit different strengths andlimitations. The qualitative part is usually exploratory and is thephase of generating the hypothesis which is later confirmed later onthrough quantitative research (Lobeet al. 2008).Therefore, the use of mixed methods (qualitative and quantitativemethods) has its own advantages and disadvantages as will bedemonstrated in this essay.
Usinga blend of qualitative and quantitative data can help enhance anevaluation of an issue in nursing as it ensures that the limitationspresented by one type of data or research method are balanced by thestrengths of the other. It improves understanding by combiningvariant ways of knowing (Greene, 2007). Evaluations that utilize bothqualitative and quantitative data are able to improve theirreliability and validity that those which rely on one method ofresearch.
Thereare various reasons why researchers deem it necessary to combinequalitative data and quantitative data. Combining the two data helpin enriching the study results. Qualitative work enables theresearcher to identify issues or gather information that could not beobtained through quantitative approach. In addition, a mixture of thetwo methods helps in examining of issues in nursing in a moredetailed manner. Hypotheses for instance are generated fromqualitative research and can be tested through quantitative method.Using the tow research approaches together help in explaining aphenomenon (Greene, 2007). Qualitative data is used to comprehendunanticipated results obtained from quantitative data. Overall, theuse of two methods of research in studying issues in nursing act as areinforcement to the weaknesses that are presented by individualmethods. Qualitative research basically adds meat to the bones ofdata analyzed quantitatively, giving deep meaning to numbers orfigures obtained quantitatively.
Nevertheless,there are several pitfalls that can be linked to the use of mixedmethods. The use of both methods at the same time is not the ultimatechoice from other methods like sole qualitative or solelyquantitative. Mixed methods usually do not guarantee better or datathat is more valid or reliable. It often entails a lot of workespecially if the aim of the researcher is not only to use eachmethod effectively but also mix them effectively. Thus, theresearcher must reflect on the purpose of their study as argued byLobeet al. (2008).
Oneof the most common disadvantages of mixed method is that, wheninvestigators base their choice of research approach not on the studysubject and the type of the questions they intend to answer but justutilize whatever approach they are most conversant to.
Inaddition, the idea of triangulation that is usually misguided as asynonym for the aspect of mixed methods. It is important to considerthe fact that triangulation is just one of the feasible methods andreasons for mixing qualitative and quantitative approaches and data.Finally, data in mixed methods should not be termed as true of untrueas the differences between different sets of data might be as usefuland revealing as similarities.
Inconclusion, the use of qualitative and quantitative research methodshas their individual strengths and weaknesses. Using both methods(mixed methods) help to bridge the weaknesses presented by othermethods. Nevertheless, the use of mixed methods should be wellcalculated as it also presents certain limitations.
Greene,J. (2007) Mixed Options in Social Inquiry.  San Francisco:Jossey-Bass.465
Lobe,B. (2008). Integrationof Online Research Methods.Information Technology/Social Informatics collection. Faculty ofSocial Sciences Press.