Research in the Nursing Profession

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative research is the inquiry of social phenomena as it exists in the natural setting, for example, the beliefs and practices of doctors on a certain aspect of health. As a result, ‘why’ becomes the focus as the aim is to gain insight into the direct experiences of human beings acting as agents that help to obtain the meaning of studied realities. It is useful in understanding phenomena that cannot otherwise be studied through quantitative research, for example, when a detailed explanation on how to improve a procedure or why a policy should be modified is required. It is generalized because it does not limit the number of realities that interest a researcher. The researcher, hence, is part of the research process and has a great influence on the entire process.

In contrast, quantitative research is logical and statistical because the attention is on a single reality. For example, Abbade et al. (2017) focus on the use of PICOT to frame research questions, and in doing so, center on the five elements using a score of 0 to 5. The research focuses on studying phenomena utilizing numeric patterns that seek to test a theory, which forms the backbone or starting point for this kind of research. However, it does not influence the research process in any way as studied reality is measurable.

Correlation and Differences between Research and Evidence-Based Practice

Research is a knowledge-generation process, while evidence-based practice is the application of research to practice in gaining advanced practice characterized by innovativeness, safety, and quality. Thereby, even though both are directed at improvement, the evidence-based practice aims at utilizing the research aspect to attain desired goals. As a result, the two approaches complement each other, as noted by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing (2006). However, research is abstract in form, while evidence-based practice dwells on using research knowledge to evaluate, apply, and regenerate evidence to promote the attainment of safe, effective, efficient, and relevant practice.

Sequentially, a doctorate in nursing practice is grounded in scientific underpinnings that are the pillars for advanced nursing practice. Graduates at the doctoral level are expected to possess competencies meant to promote nursing excellence because they are supposed to develop and implement new care models as efficient leaders. A doctorate graduate needs to display competency in integrating research and associated knowledge into practice, identifying practice gaps, devising appropriate methodologies to find solutions, and displaying teamwork skills for collaborative research.


Abbade, L., Wang, M., Sriganesh, K., Jin, Y., Mbuagbaw, L., & Thabane, L. (2017). The framing of research questions using the PICOT format in randomized controlled trials of venous ulcer disease is suboptimal: A systematic survey. Wound Healing and Regeneration, 25(5), 892–900. Web.

American Association of Colleges of Nursing. (2006). The essentials of doctoral education for advanced nursing practice. One Dupont Circle.

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NursingBird. "Research in the Nursing Profession." June 16, 2022.