Research Handouts

Research Handouts

Research: An Introduction

Sources of knowledge
Tradition: accepted as given on the basis of inherited customs
Authority: comes from people with expertise
              Trial and error
Sources of knowledge
Logical reasoning: combines, intellectual faculties  and formal system of thought

Disciplined research: the most sophisticated method of acquiring knowledge.

Research is a systematic, controlled, empirical and critical investigation of hypothetical propositions about the presumed relations among natural phenomena.
                                         Kerlinger, 1973

  Systematic – follows certain steps
  Controlled – every step of the investigation is planned
  Empirical – evidence is on hand, there is confidence in the results

Research in its broadest sense is an attempt to gain solutions to problems. More precisely, it is the collection of data in a rigorously controlled situation for the purpose of prediction or explanation.

                              Treece and Treece, 1974

Nursing research is research for nursing. It includes the breadth and depth of the discipline of nursing: the rehabilitative, therapeutic, and preventive aspects of nursing, as well as the preparation of practitioners and personnel involved in the total nursing sphere.

Nursing research is defined as a scientific process that validates and refines existing knowledge and generates new knowledge that directly and indirectly influences nursing practice.

                            Burns and Grove, 2005

Purposes of Research
      1. Describe
       2. Explain
       3. Predict
       4. Control

Describe - involves identifying and understanding the nature of phenomena and sometimes the relationship among them.
Explain - It clarifies the relationships among phenomena and identifies the reasons why certain events occur. It could be the basis for conducting research for prediction and control
Predict - Through prediction, one can estimate the probability of a specific outcome in a given situation. However, predicting an outcome does not necessarily enable one to modify or control the outcome.
Control - If one can predict the outcome of a situation, the next step is to control or manipulate the situation to produce the desired outcome.

Nurses do research because…
Nursing is a profession
Nursing should contribute to the generation of new knowledge
Through research, nurses could evaluate and document their contributions to their clients’ health and wellbeing and to the health care delivery system

                               Cruz-Earnshaw, 2007
Nurses do research because…
RA 9173 Section 28 (e )states that:
 It shall be the duty of the nurse to:
 (e) Undertake nursing and health human resource development training and research which shall include, but not limited to the development of advance nursing practice;

Classifications of Research
According to level of investigation
   1. Exploratory
   2. Descriptive
   3. Experimental

Classifications of Research
According to approach
   1. Experimental
   2. Non-experimental

Classifications of Research
According to measurement & data analysis
   1. Quantitative
   2. Qualitative

Classifications of Research
According to time frame
   1. Longitudinal
   2. Cross sectional

Classifications of Research
According to motive or objective
   1. Basic research
   2. Applied research

Classifications of Research
According to time line
   1. Retrospective
   2. Prospective

Classifications of Research
According to research environment
   1. Field
   2. Laboratory

Quantitative Research
Quantitative research is the investigation of phenomena that lend themselves to precise measurement and quantification, often involving a rigorous and controlled design.

Quantitative Research Methods
Descriptive – provides an accurate portrayal or account of characteristics of a particular individual, situation or group.

Quantitative Research Methods
Correlational – involves the systematic investigation of relationships/association between two or more variables

Quantitative Research Methods
Comparative – used to describe the differences in variables in two or more groups in a natural setting

Quantitative Research Methods
Quasi-experimental – causal relationships between two selected variables are examined through manipulation of the independent variable but without control or randomization.

Quantitative Research Methods
Experimental – it is an objective, systematic, controlled investigation for the purpose of predicting and controlling phenomena. Characteristics include manipulation, control, and randomization.

Quantitative Research Methods
Ex post facto – the independent variable is not manipulated, either because it is inherently unmanipulable or because it occurred in the past

Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is the investigation of phenomena typically in an in-depth and holistic fashion, through the collection of rich narrative materials using a flexible research design.

Qualitative Research Methods
Phenomenological – describes an experience as they are lived by people

Qualitative Research Methods
Grounded theory – discovers what problems exist in a social scene and the process persons use to handle them

Qualitative Research Methods
Ethnographic – it is associated with anthropology and focuses on the culture of a group of people, with an effort to understand the world view of those under study.

Qualitative Research Methods
Historical – a narrative description or analysis of events that occurred in the remote or recent past.

Qualitative Research Methods
Philosophical inquiry – involves using intellectual analysis to clarify meanings, makes values manifest, identify ethics, and study the nature of knowledge

Qualitative Research Methods
Case study – involves a thorough, in-depth analysis of an individual, a group, or an institution or other social units.

Qualitative Research Methods
Critical theory – an approach to viewing the world that involves a critique of society, with the goal of envisioning new possibilities and effecting social change

Qualitative Research Methods
Feminist research – seeks to understand, typically through qualitative approaches, how gender and a gendered social order shape women’s lives and their consciousness.

Mixed Methods Research
TRIANGULATION – the use of multiple methods to collect and interpret data about a phenomenon, so as to converge on an accurate representation of reality

Steps in the Research Process
Identification of problem
Review of related literature
Construction of a framework
Formulate the hypothesis
Select the research design                 
Select the sample
Collect the data
Analyze and interpret the data
Write the research report
Communicate the research report

Major Steps: Quantitative Study
Phase I: The Conceptual Phase
Step 1:  Formulating and delimiting the problem
Step 2:  Reviewing the related research literature
Step 3: Undertaking clinical fieldwork
Step 4: Defining the framework and conceptual definitions
Step 5: Formulating the hypothesis
Phase II: The Design and Planning Phase
Step 6: Selecting a research design
Step 7: Developing protocols for intervention
Step 8: Identifying the population to be studied
Step 9: Designing the sampling plan
Step 10: Specifying methods to measure variables
Step 11: Developing methods to protect human/animal rights
Step 12: Finalizing and reviewing the research plan

Phase III: The Empirical Phase
Step 13: Collecting the data
Step 14: Preparing data for analysis
Phase IV: The Analytic Phase
Step 15: Analyzing the data
Step 16: Interpreting the results
Phase V: The Dissemination Phase
Step 17: Communicating the findings
Step 18: Utilizing research evidence in practice

Activities: Qualitative Study
Conceptualizing and planning a qualitative study
Identifying a research problem
Doing a literature review
Selecting and gaining entrée into research sites
 Designing qualitative studies
            Addressing ethical issues

Activities: Qualitative Study

Conducting a qualitative study
Obtaining and analyzing qualitative data

Disseminating qualitative findings
Writing qualitative research

What is a research problem?
A problem is a condition requiring a solution.
In research, a problem statement is an expression of a dilemma or a disturbing situation that needs investigation.

Sources of research problems
Personal experiences and observations
Conversations with peers, experts, clients
                Attendance in conferences, lectures
                Everyday occurrences
                Social and political issues affecting health

Characteristics of a researchable problem
             Feasibility of time and resources
                      Availability of data
                      Ability of the researcher

Situations manifesting a problem
Absence of information
Incomplete information
Conflicting information
           A fact exists and you intend your study to explain it.
                           There is a gap in knowledge
The research question
The problem is specifically stated in the form of a research question.
The research question should be clear, concise, and stated in measurable terms specifically in quantitative research.

The research question
    What is the level of creativity among senior student nurses of a center of excellence college in Mehsana in terms of originality and flexibility?

The title
Functions of a title
    1. It draws in summary form, the content of the entire investigation.
    2. It serves as a frame of reference for the whole thesis.
    3. It enables the researcher to claim the title as his own.
    4. It helps the other researchers refer to the work.

The title
Titles should be clear and specific.
It should include variables, relationships, target population, and setting.
           Ideally, it should have a maximum of 20 substantive words, with function words not included in the counting.

The title
    The Effects of Home Visits of Public Health Nurses on the Dietary Compliance of Adult    Diabetic Patients in Two Center in Mehsana City

The Variable
Variable – an attribute of a person or object that varies, that is, takes on different values. It is anything that is liable to change or likely to vary.
                        Independent variable – cause
                        Dependent variable – effect
                        Extraneous variables – not studied but affects results
The Variable
Intervening – comes between the dependent and independent variables. Ex. -  stress, anxiety, motivation
Organismic – those that can not be changed through manipulation. Ex. – age, sex, race
Confounding or interfering – interfere with the study design and the data gathering process by influencing the subjects or the dependent variable. Ex. – social support
The Variable
Antecedent – occurs earlier than the independent variable and bears a relationship both to it and to the dependent variable. Ex.- poor health, superstitious beliefs

           RANDOMIZATION is the best control over unknown variables.

Significance of the study
Issues relevant in considering the significance of the study:
   1. Implications for nursing practice – Is it able to produce evidence for nursing practice?
   2. Extension of knowledge base – Is it able to produce new knowledge which is useful?   

Significance of the study
   3. Promotion of theory development – Is it able to test or develop a new theory?
   4. Correspondence to research priorities – Is it in line with research priorities of the country, profession, or funding institutions?

Scope and Limitations
Scope defines where and when the study was conducted and who the participants (subjects) were. The scope sets the delimitations and establishes the boundaries of the study.
Limitations – are the weaknesses and shortcomings of the study as acknowledged by the researcher.

Definition of terms
Operational definition – description of how variables or concepts will be measured or manipulated in the study
Conceptual definition – provides a variable with connotative meaning. It tells what the concept means.

An assumption is any fact presumed to be true but not actually verified. It pertains to events or situations that seem so true that they are taken for granted. Unlike the hypothesis it does not need testing or confirmation.

Ethics in Research
Basic Rights
The right to protection from harm and discomfort.
 PRINCIPLE: Beneficence – imposes a duty on researchers to minimize harm and to maximize benefits. A related principle is nonmaleficence (avoid, prevent or minimize harm)
Right to full disclosure – means that the researcher has fully described the nature of the study, the subject’s right to refuse participation, the researcher’s responsibilities, and the likely risks and benefits that would be incurred.

PRINCIPLE: Respect for human dignity

Basic Rights
Debriefing is communication with subjects, generally after their participation has been completed regarding various aspects of the study.

Basic Rights
Covert data collection or concealment is the collection of data without the subject’s knowledge.
Deception can involve either withholding information about the study or providing subjects with false information.

Basic Rights
Placebo is a medically harmless, ineffective substance that is usually used in testing a new drug when it is given to a control group. It is done to rule out any possible biases of subjects and investigators.

Basic Rights
There are two variations in the use of placebo
Single blind test design: it is one in which the evaluations of the results of a treatment are kept from the subjects who have received it.

Basic Rights
Double blind test design: it is one in which the investigators and the subjects involved in the study are kept ignorant about the process – that is, they are not suppose to know who are receiving the treatment and who are not

Basic Rights
Right to self determination means that the prospective subjects have the right to voluntarily decide whether or not to participate in a study, without the risk of imposing any penalties or prejudicial treatment.

Basic Rights
It includes the right to decide at any point to terminate their participation, to refuse to give information, or to ask for clarification about the purpose of the study or specific study procedures

PRINCIPLE: Respect for human dignity

Basic Rights
Vulnerable subjects or persons with diminished autonomy are those who are less advantaged because of legal or mental incompetence, terminal illness, or confinement to an institution.

Basic Rights
The right to full disclosure and the right to self determination are the two major elements on which informed consent is based

Basic Rights
Informed consent means that the subjects have adequate information regarding the research; are capable of comprehending the information; and have the power of free choice, enabling them to voluntarily consent to participate or decline participation in the research study.

Basic Rights
Informed consent involves the disclosure of the following information: subject status, study purpose, type of information to be obtained, nature of the commitment, sponsorship, subject selection, procedures, potential risks, costs, and benefits, confidentiality pledge, voluntary consent, right to withdraw, alternatives, and contact information.

Basic Rights
Informed consent for children is called assent. The study must be explained within the child’s level of comprehension. Most assents are accompanied by parental consent.

Basic Rights
Right to fair treatment means that the subjects receive equitable treatment before, during, and after their participation in the study.


Basic Rights
Right to privacy means that researchers need to ensure that their research is not more intrusive than it needs to be and that the subject’s privacy is maintained throughout the study


Basic Rights
Anonymity occurs when even the researcher can not link a subject with the information for that subject. The subjects remain unknown.

Basic Rights
A promise of confidentiality to the subjects is a guarantee that any information that the subjects provide will not be publicly reported or made accessible to parties other than those involved in the research.

Literature Review

What is a literature review?
It is a collection of materials on a topic.

It discusses published information in a particular subject area sometimes within a certain time period.

What is a literature review?
It can be a simple summary of sources but has an organizational pattern and combines both summary and synthesis.

A summary is a recap of the important information found in the literature.

A synthesis is a re-organization, or a reshuffling of information to:
     1. Give a new interpretation of old materials
     2. Combine new with old interpretations
     3. Trace the intellectual progression of the field including major debates.

It is conducted to generate a picture of what is known about a particular situation and the knowledge gaps that exist in it.

Source for research ideas
Orientation to what is already known
Provides the conceptual or theoretical framework of the planned research
Provides information on research approaches and techniques.

Kinds of literature
Research literature: refers to published reports of actual research studies done previously
Conceptual literature consists of articles or books written by authorities giving their opinions, experiences, theories,or ideas.

Sources for literature review
A primary source: is the description of an investigation written by the person who conducted it
A secondary source: is a description of a study or studies prepared by someone other than the original researcher

Where can literature be found?
Journal articles
Conference proceedings
Government and corporate reports

Where can literature be found?
Theses and dissertations
Internet – electronic journals

Reading the literatures
Read the easier articles first
Scan the article – Read the abstract first.
Read for depth
Allow enough time
Do not put writing off until you have finished reading
Keep bibliographic information.

Writing the literature review
The review is not just a list describing one published study after another but rather requires that the author critically analyze the available literature on the topic.
The review should be organized into sections that present themes or identified trends.


A framework is the abstract, logical structure of meaning that guides the development of the study and enables the researcher to link the findings to nursing's body of knowledge.
It is the conceptual underpinnings of a study.

Theoretical framework is based on theories.
Conceptual framework is rooted on specific concepts or conceptual model
Both provides the structure for examining a problem and serves as a guide to examine relationships between variables.
The use of a framework
In quantitative research, the framework is a testable theory that may emerge from a conceptual model or may be developed inductively from published research or clinical observations
In qualitative research, the initial framework is a philosophy or a worldview. A theory consistent with the philosophy   is developed as the outcome of the study.

The use of a framework
Worldviews are mental lenses or cognitive and perceptual maps that we continually use to find our way through the social landscape surrounding us.
They are extremely encompassing in content and pervasive in adherence.
They are composed of beliefs, belief systems and social values associated with them.
A concept is a term that abstractly describes and names an object, a phenomenon, or an idea, thus providing it with a separate identity or meaning.
Constructs are concepts at very high level of abstraction and have general meaning
Variables are more concrete and are narrow in their definition.

A conceptual map is a strategy for expressing a framework. It diagrams the interrelationships of the concepts and statements.


The hypothesis is a tentative, declarative statement about the relationship between two or more variables.
It is a tentative explanation for certain behaviors, phenomena or events which have occurred or will occur.
It is an educated guess which needs to be tested.
It should be reasonable.
It should state in definite terms, the relationship between variables.
It should be testable.

Observations of phenomena
Real life experiences
May be generated from relationships expressed in theories.
Literature review
Results of previous researches

Null hypothesis (Ho) is a statement of a no relationship, no difference, no effect or no interaction. It is tested with statistics.
   There is no relationship between nursing admission test results and board examination ratings among the graduates of nursing schools in Mehsana.

Alternative or research hypothesis (H1) is the expectation based on theory. This could  either be:
Directional – specifies the direction of the relationship.
Non-directional – only specifies that there is a relationship.
   The higher the nursing admission test results, the higher is the board examination ratings.
   There is a relationship between nursing admission test results and board examination ratings among the graduates of nursing schools in Manila.

Simple hypothesis has one independent and one dependent variable.
  There is no relationship between nursing admission test results and board examination ratings among the graduates of nursing schools in Mehsana.

Complex hypothesis has two or more independent and dependent variables
   There is no relationship between nursing  admission test results and grade point average to board examination ratings  and CGFNS results among the graduates of nursing schools in Mehsana.
Wording the hypothesis
Hypothesis should specify the independent and dependent variables and the relationship between them.
Hypothesis should be worded in the present tense
Hypothesis should be stated declaratively.

Hypotheses are never proved through hypothesis testing rather they are accepted or supported or rejected. Findings are always tentative. If results are replicated in numerous investigations, greater confidence can be placed in the conclusions.
 Hypotheses come to be supported with mounting evidences.

Research Designs

Research design is the plan, structure, and strategy of an investigation.
Research method is the totality of how the study is carried out. It includes the design, sample, setting, instruments, interventions, procedures, and data analysis.

Interrelationship: Design, Problem, Literature Review, Framework, and Hypothesis

Quantitative Designs
A descriptive design is used to identify a phenomenon of interest, identify variables within the phenomenon, event or group in real life situations for the purpose of discovering new meaning, describing what exists, determining the frequency with which something occurs, and categorizing information.

Quantitative Descriptive
Survey designs are employed to measure the existing phenomenon without inquiring into why it exists. The main intention is to use the data for problem solving rather than for hypothesis testing.

Quantitative Descriptive
Correlational designs help one determine the extent to which different variables are related to each other in the population of interest. The critical distinguishing characteristic is the effort to estimate a relationship as distinguished from simple description.

Quantitative Descriptive
Comparative designs examine and describe differences in variables in two or more groups that occur naturally in the setting. Descriptive and inferential statistical analyses are used to examine differences between or among groups.

Quantitative Descriptive
Time dimensional designs were developed within the discipline of epidemiology where the occurrence and distribution of disease among populations are studied. These designs examine sequences and patterns of change, growth or change over time. The dimension of time becomes an important factor.

Quantitative Descriptive
Longitudinal designs examine changes in the same subjects over an extended period.
Cross sectional designs are used to examine groups of subjects in various stages of development simultaneously with the intent to describe changes in the phenomenon across stages.

Quantitative Descriptive
Primary longitudinal designs
   1. Trend studies: the general population is studied at different points over a long period of time. Participants are not the same at each period but they are representative of the population at that time.

Quantitative Descriptive
   2. Cohort studies: focus on the same specific population each time data are collected, samples may be composed of different subjects but with similar characteristics.
3. Panel studies: use the same respondents for each progressive time period that the data are collected.

Characteristics of a True Experiment
Manipulation: the researcher manipulates i.e. provides intervention or treatment in the experimental group. The independent variable is manipulated to assess its effect on the dependent variable.

Characteristics of a True Experiment
Control: imposing of rules by the researcher to decrease the possibility of error and increase the probability that the study’s findings are an accurate reflection of reality.

Ways of control:
1. Homogenecity: the researcher limits the subjects to only one level of extraneous variable to reduce the impact on study findings
2. Blocking: including the extraneous variable as part of the design
3. Matching: it is used when a subject in the experimental group is randomly selected and then a subject similar in relation to important extraneous variables is randomly selected for the control group.

Characteristics of a True Experiment
Randomization: each individual in the population should have a greater than zero opportunity to be selected for the sample. Random assignment is the assignment of subjects to treatment conditions in a manner determined by chance.

Quantitative Experimental
Pre-experimental design is a research design that does not include mechanisms to compensate for the absence of either randomization or a control group. Done as a preliminary study.
Designs: Pre-experimental
One shot case study
                     X                O
                 X – Treatment/intervention
                 O - Posttest

Designs: Pre-experimental
Posttest only design with comparison group
       Experimental group     X      O1
       Control group                       O2

Designs: Pre-experimental
One-Group Pretest Posttest Design
                  O1          X          O2

                       O1 Pretest
                X  - Treatment/Intervention
                O2 - Posttest

Designs: Pre-experimental
Static Group Comparison
                     X           O1
               X – Treatment/Intervention
               O1 – Experimental posttest
               O2 – Control posttest
               ---- - Non-random selection
Quantitative Experimental
True experimental designs possess the characteristics of a true experiment.
True Experimental Designs
Pretest Posttest Control Group Design or Classical Experimental Design
                  R S      O1        X        O2
                          R C      O3                    O4
True Experimental Designs
                R – Random assignment
                O1 – Experimental pretest
                O2  - Experimental posttest
                        O3 – Control pretest
                        O4 – Control posttest
                 X -  Treatment/Intervention
                 S – Study group
                 C – Control group

True Experimental Designs
Solomon  Four Group Design
                  R S      O1       X        O2
                  R C      O3                 O4
                           R S                 X        O5
                  R C                           O6

Quantitative Experimental
Quasi-experimental designs are studies involving an intervention in which subjects are not randomly assigned to treatment conditions but the researcher exercises controls to enhance the study’s internal validity.

Quasi-experimental Designs
Time series experiment
   O1  O2  O3  O4  X  O5  O6  O7  O8

Non-equivalent control group design
              O1     X     O2
              O3             O4

Threats to Experimental Validity
Internal validity: refers to the condition that the observed differences on the dependent variable are a direct result of the manipulation of the independent variable, not some other variable

Threats to Experimental Validity
Threats to internal validity
  History effect: an event that is not related to the planned study but occurs during the time of the study and could influence the responses of subjects to the treatment

Threats to Experimental Validity
Selection threat is more likely to occur in studies in which randomization is not possible
Maturation is defined as growing older, wiser, stronger, hungrier, more tired, or more experienced during the study. Unplanned and unrecognized changes can influence the findings of the study.

Threats to Experimental Validity
Mortality is due to subjects who drop out of a study before completion
External validity refers to the condition wherein the results are generalizable or applicable to groups and environments outside of the experimental setting

Epidemiological Designs
Two broad classifications
   1. Observational studies – examine associations between risk factors and outcomes
   2. Intervention studies – explore the association between interventions and outcomes            

Epidemiological Designs
Observational studies
   1. Analytical – determinants and risk of disease
   2. Descriptive – patterns and frequency of disease
Epidemiological Designs
Intervention or experimental studies - provides the strongest clinical evidence.
   1.) Randomized Controlled Clinical Trial (RCT) -  A prospective, analytical, experimental study using primary data generated in the clinical environment. Individuals similar at the beginning are randomly allocated to two or more treatment groups and the outcomes the groups are compared after sufficient follow-up time. Properly executed, the RCT is the strongest evidence of the clinical efficacy of preventive and therapeutic procedures in the clinical setting.

 2. Randomized Cross-Over Clinical Trial - A prospective, analytical, experimental study using primary data generated in the clinical environment. Individuals with a chronic condition are randomly allocated to one of two treatment groups, and, after a sufficient treatment period and often a washout period, are switched to the other treatment for the same period.

 3. Randomized Controlled Laboratory Study - A prospective, analytical, experimental study using primary data generated in the laboratory environment. Laboratory studies are very powerful tools for doing basic research because all extraneous factors other than those of interest can be controlled or accounted for (e.g., age, gender, genetics, nutrition, environment, co-morbidity, strain of infectious agent)

Observational studies
   1. Cohort (Incidence, Longitudinal Study)  - A prospective, analytical, observational study, based on data, usually primary, from a follow-up period of a group in which some have had, have or will have the exposure of interest, to determine the association between that exposure and an outcome.

   2. Case-Control Study - A retrospective, analytical, observational study often based on secondary data in which the proportion of cases with a potential risk factor are compared to the proportion of controls (individuals without the disease) with the same risk factor. The common association measure for a case-control study is the odds ratio.

   3.  Ecologic (Aggregate) Study -  An observational analytical study based on aggregated secondary data. Aggregate data on risk factors and disease prevalence from different population groups is compared to identify associations.
 4. Cross-Sectional (Prevalence Study) Study -  A descriptive study of the relationship between diseases and other factors at one point in time (usually) in a defined population

5. Case Series -  A descriptive, observational study of a series of cases, typically describing the manifestations, clinical course, and prognosis of a condition.

6. Case Report - Anecdotal evidence. A description of a single case, typically describing the manifestations, clinical course, and prognosis of that case.

Qualitative Designs
Qualitative designs uses systematic, interactive approach which is used to describe life experiences and give them meaning.

Qualitative Phenomenology
Phenomenological design is used to describe experiences as they are lived
Bracketing is the suspension of the researcher’s preconceptions, prejudices and beliefs so that they do not interfere with or influences their description of the respondent’s experience.

Qualitative Grounded Theory
Grounded theory provides a way to transcend experience – to move it from a description of what is happening to understanding the process by which it happens.
Qualitative Ethnographic
Ethnographic design provides a mechanism for studying our own culture and that of others.

Qualitative Historical
Historical design is the systematic collection and critical evaluation of data relating to past occurrences.
   External criticism: authenticity and genuiness of data
   Internal criticism: worthiness or truthfulness of data

Qualitative Philosophical Inquiry
Philosophical inquiry considers an idea or an issue from all perspectives by extensively exploring the literature, examining conceptual meaning, raising questions, providing answers, and suggesting the implications of those answers.
Qualitative Critical Social Theory
Critical social theory dares to question the unquestioned and uncovers injustice and inequity in the society.

Qualitative Feminist Research
Feminist research is based on the premise that gender is a central construct in a society that privileges men and marginalizes women. It seeks to equalize power relations by using a broad range of methodologies.
Case Study
Involves an extensive exploration of a single unit of study, such as a person, family, group, community, or institution, or a very small number of subjects who are examined intensively.
           It may have both quantitative and qualitative elements.
           Used for rare, interesting, or representative cases

It is the combined use of two or more theories, methods, data sources, investigators, or analysis methods in the study of the same phenomenon.

The KEY in choosing the research design

The best research design is the one that is most appropriate for the problem and the purpose of the study.


Sampling involves selecting a group of people, events, behaviors, or other elements with which to conduct a study.
Sampling plan defines the process of making the selection.
Sample defines the selected group of people or elements.
Population or target population is the entire set of individuals or elements who meet the sampling criteria.

Sampling criteria list the characteristics essential for membership in the target population.
Accessible population is the portion of the target population to which the researcher has reasonable access.
Elements are the entities that make up the sample or the population

Sampling frame is a list of all cases, objects, or groups of cases in the populations.
Generalizing means that the findings can be applied to the population.
Representativeness means that the sample must be like the population in as many ways as possible.

Categories of Sampling Plans
Probability sampling: a process in which each element of the population has an equal chance of being chosen for the sample. There is randomization.

Non-probability sampling: elements are selected by non-random methods
Sample Size

RULE: The larger the sample, the more representative of the population.
Minimum acceptable sample size
  1. Descriptive: 10 – 20% of the population
   2. Correlational: 30 subjects
   3. Ex post facto: 15 subjects
   4. Experimental: 15 – 30 subjects per group                    
                                    Gay and Diehl,1992

Sample Size
Slovin’s Formula
       n   =   N
               1 + Ne2
Where:  n = sample size
             N = population
              e = desired margin of error
                     ( 0.05 or 0.01 )

Probability Techniques
Simple random: sampling by chance either by lottery or by the use of table of random numbers

Stratified random: involves taking certain areas of the population, dividing the areas into sections, and then taking a random sample from each section.

Systematic sampling: every nth name from a roster of names can be taken as sample.
          K   =   N/n
Where:  K   =   sampling interval
              N   =   population
              n    =   sample size

Cluster sampling: sampling in groups

Multi-stage sampling: used for extremely large populations. It proceeds through a set of stages from larger to smaller sampling units.

Non-probability Techniques
Purposive or judgmental: subjects are hand picked to be included in the sample, based upon the researcher’s knowledge of the population.

Quota sampling: researchers identify strata of the population and then determine how many participants are needed from each stratum to meet a quota.

Accidental, convenience, incidental: utilizes readily available subjects

Snowball or network: subjects act as informants who identify others for inclusion in the sample who in turn leads to more samples
Steps in Sampling
General outline of procedures
   1. Identify the target population
   2. Identify the accessible population
   3. Decide the sample size and how the sample will be taken.
   4. Recruit subjects according to the designated plan.
   5. Obtain the subject’s cooperation.
N.B. The steps may vary from one sampling design to another

Qualitative sampling
Sample size is not predetermined in qualitative research

Saturation: is the point in data gathering where no new data emerge therefore sampling is stopped. There is data repetition.

Data Collection

Goal and Purpose
      Goal – to collect data that are meaningful for the purpose of the study
      Meaningful data depend on the quality of the instrument employed in the process
      No amount of sophisticated statistics can salvage a poor set of data gathered through defective instruments.

      Questionnaire: a paper and pencil instrument completed by the study subjects

   1. Checklist
   2. Multiple Choice
   3. Rating Scales: list an ordered series of categories of a variable assumed to be based on an underlying continuum.
       A numerical value is assigned to each category.

     Questionnaire Formats
      Multiple Choice
      Rating Scale and Ranking Type

      Interview involves verbal communication between the researcher and the subject

      Interview structure is the amount of direction and restriction imposed by the interview situation

Interview Types
      Structured: the interviewer has a list of prepared questions in the form of an interview schedule

      Unstructured interview: more like a conversation. The interviewer uses an interview guide

Interview Tools
      Observation: involves looking at the phenomenon
      Used to study human behavior
      Hawthorne effect: is the effect on the dependent variable caused by the subject’s awareness that they are participants in a study

    Types of Observation
      Structured observation is one in which aspects of the phenomenon to be observed are decided in advance
      Unstructured observation is a nonselective description of the phenomenon to be observed

  Types of Observation
      Participant observation is done when the researcher is involved in the setting with the subject
      Non-participant observation is when the researcher is merely viewing the situation

      Records are prepared and preexisting data
      Selective deposit and selective survival are the two major sources of bias.
       Records available for use may not constitute the entire set of all possible data.

        Physiologic Measurement
      Physiologic measurements are techniques used to measure physiologic variables either directly or indirectly. This is also called biophysiologic measures
      Used in clinical nursing studies
      The choice of the physiologic measure is dependent upon its ability to yield good information.

       Physiologic Measurement
        Criteria for effective question
      Clarity of language
      Specificity of content and time period
      Singleness of purpose
      Freedom from assumption
      Freedom from suggestion
      Linguistic completeness
      Grammatical consistency

        Types of questions
      Closed ended: respondents answer a number of alternative responses
   1. Dichotomous: two response alternative
   2. Multichotomous: multiple responses
      Open ended: respondents are given enough flexibility to answer questions or specify answers other than those found in the questionnaire

      Characteristics of tools
      Validity refers to the ability of a data gathering instrument to measure what it is supposed to measure and to obtain data relevant to what is being measured.
      Reliability refers to the ability to obtain consistent results when reused.

Data Analysis and Interpretation

Data Analysis
Data analysis is the systematic organization and synthesis of research data and, in most quantitative studies, the testing of the hypotheses using those data.

Quantitative Analysis
The manipulation of numerical data through statistical procedures for the purpose of describing phenomenon or assessing the magnitude and reliability of relationships among them.

Quantitative Analysis
Purposes of statistics

Quantitative Analysis
Factors to consider in choosing the appropriate statistical test
   1. Purpose of the study
   2. Research questions
   3. Number and measure of variables
   4. Sampling technique and sample size
   5. Availability of statistical software
   6. Ability of the researcher

Quantitative Analysis
Branches of statistics
   1. Descriptive statistics used to describe and synthesize data obtained from empirical observations and measurements.
   2. Inferential statistics: it is concerned with making decisions about a large body of data in the population of interest by using a sample of that universe.

Quantitative Analysis
A set of data can be summarized in terms of 3 characteristics

   1. Shape of distribution
   2. Central tendency
   3. Variability

QUAN - Shape of distribution
Frequency distribution is a systematic arrangement of numerical values from the lowest to the highest, together with a count of the number of times each value was obtained.
A frequency distribution can be obtained graphically by means of a frequency polygon

QUAN - Shape of distribution
Scores in a pilot survey on patient satisfaction
                 1       4       3       4
                 3       3       2       2
                 5       1       3       2
                 2       3       4      3
1 = Very dissatisfied      4 = Satisfied
2 = Dissatisfied              5 = Very Satisfied
3 = A little satisfied

QUAN - Shape of distribution
Frequency distribution
    Frequency Table
    Score      Frequency (f)       Percentage
         1                   2                      12.50%
         2                   4                       25.00%
         3                   6                       37.50%
         4                   3                       18.75%
         5                   1                         6.25%
                           n = 16                   100%

QUAN - Shape of distribution
Frequency polygon

QUAN - Shape of distribution
A distribution is said to be symmetrical in shape if when folded over, the two halves of a frequency polygon would be superimposed.

Shape: Symmetrical Distributions
Shape: Symmetrical Distributions
Shape: Asymmetrical Distributions
Positively Skewed: Tail points to the right
Shape: Asymmetrical Distributions
Example – Positively skewed distribution
   Personal income – most people have low to moderate income with very few at the tail end. The mean is larger than the median because there are so many low scores.
Shape: Asymmetrical Distributions
Negatively skewed: Tail points to the left
Shape: Asymmetrical Distributions
Example – Negatively skewed distribution
   Age at death – most people die when they are old, few die when they are young. The bulk of the people are at the upper end of the distribution. The median is larger than the mean because there are so many high scores.

Shape: Kurtosis
Kurtosis explains the degree of peakedness of the curve, which is related to the spread of variance of scores.
Extreme kurtosis can affect the validity of statistical analysis because the scores have little variation
Shape: Kurtosis

QUAN – Central Tendency
Mode – that numerical value in a distribution that occurs most frequently
Median – that point in a distribution above which and below which 50% of the subjects fall
Mean – the point on the score scale that is equal to the sum of scores divided by the number of scores. It is also known as average.

QUAN – Variability
Standard deviation (SD) captures the degree to which the scores deviate from one another. The SD tells us how much on the average the scores deviate from the mean. It also tells us the homogenecity or heterogenecity of the group.
Range is the highest score minus the lowest score.

QUAN – Measurement levels
Nominal – lowest level; name categories; assignment of numbers to simply classify characteristics into categories
Ordinal – attributes are ordered or ranked according to some criterion
Interval               The distance between
   0 ≠ 0                    any 2 numbers on the
Ratio – Highest   scale are
  0 = 0                    of known and
                               equal size
Qualitative Analysis
Qualitative analysis is the organization and interpretation of non-numerical data for the purpose of discovering important underlying dimensions and patterns of relationships
Qualitative Analysis
 Data analysis components
Qualitative Analysis
Categories are underlying regularities, concepts, and clusters of concepts.
Themes develop within categories of data. They emerge from the data. A theme is an abstract entity that brings meaning and identity to experiences and its variant manifestations. It captures and unifies the nature or basis of the experience  into a meaningful whole.

Qualitative Analysis Process
Comprehending – making sense of the data and learning “what is going on” and preparing a thorough description of the phenomenon.

Qualitative Analysis Process
Synthesizing – involves sifting of the data and putting pieces together. Researchers get a sense of what is typical with regard to the phenomenon and what variation is like.
Qualitative Analysis Process
Theorizing – involves a systematic sorting of the data. Researchers develop alternative explanations of the phenomenon and then hold these explanations up to determine their fit with the data.
Qualitative Analysis Process
Recontextualizing – involves the further development of the theory such that its applicability to other settings or groups is explored.

Writing the Research Report

Purpose in writing the report
To communicate in writing: the problem investigated, the methods used, the findings generated, the interpretation of results, the integration with the theory, what conclusions have been drawn at the end, and how the findings relate to past research.
Writing the introduction and problem
Go directly into what the problem is investigating.
State the rationale.
Include key previous researches to strengthen the reason for the investigation.
Include the significance,scope and limitations, & definition of terms.
Writing the literature review
Include conflicting viewpoints of various authors.
State how each literature relates to the topic under investigation.
Put together references saying the same thing.
Learn to choose ONLY relevant literature.

Writing the methodology
Include the research design and the justification of why it was chosen.
Present the population and the sampling design, setting, and sample size.
Describe the tool used together with the validity and reliability testing.
Discuss how the data was analyzed.

Writing the results & discussion
Present results in a logical order with the research question as guide.
Use tables, figures, and other devises to maximize the lucidity of the presentation.
Text should be followed by tables.
Consistency in style should be followed in writing the discussion.
RESULTS are data bound: DISCUSSION is data based
Writing the summary
The summary puts together the highlights of the important findings of the investigation.
Look back at the questions and tie them up with the main findings.
Do not write everything in the findings in the summary.
Writing the conclusions
REMEMBER: the conclusion is an abstraction drawn from the summary of findings and is tied from the question investigated.
Writing recommendations
Recommendations should have a logical link with the data and the conclusions.
Recommendations are geared towards: education, practice, future research, population or institution if applicable.

Characteristics of scientific writing
Straight forwardness
Consistency in the use of terms
Continuity through transitional sentences

Communicating Research

Communicating research
Communicating research findings, the final step in the research process, involves developing a research report and disseminating it through presentations and publications to audiences of nurses, health care professionals, policy makers, and health consumers.

Researchers are able to advance the knowledge of a discipline.
Researchers receive personal recognition and professional advancement
It promotes critique and replication
It helps identify additional problems
Promotes the use of research findings in practice
Avenues for communicating research
Publication in journals including on-line journals
Oral presentation in conferences
Poster presentation in conferences
Publication in conference proceedings
Publication in other sources e.g. books, newspapers, magazines

Thank You
Dr. Jayesh V. Patidar


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