Research In Nursing

Nerissa Nelson 

RE: Discussion Prompt

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In simple terms, a research design can be described as the overall strategy that is used to conduct a research study. Quantitative research is a “formal, objective, systematic process used to describe variables, test relationships between them, and examine cause and effect associations between variables” (Burns, 2015). Quantitative research generates numerical data, is predominantly informed by positivist or post-positivist paradigms, and is underpinned by a number of assumptions (Davies & Fisher, 2018). This refers to any research based on something that can be accurately and precisely measured.

There are four main types of quantitative designs: descriptive which is used to examine variables in a single sample and to systematically measure, describe and interpret the; correlational which aims to determine whether two or more variables are related and, if so, to discover the nature of the relationship; quasi-experimental which aim to test the effectiveness of interventions, and therefore involve the manipulation of an independent variable, and experimental which determines a cause-and-effect relationship between an intervention (the cause) and the study outcome (the effect). (Bloomfield and Fisher, 2019).

One quantitative type design that stands out and can possibly be used in nursing is the correlational research design. One major advantage of this design is that correlational research is used frequently in healthcare research because it can be used in any study that does not wish (or is unable) to manipulate the independent variable(s) being investigated. (Curtis, Comiskey and Dempsey, 2014). One major disadvantage of this design is that correlational analysis may indicate there is a relationship between two variables; however, it is not always possible to make inferences about the general population based on a correlation. (Curtis, Comiskey and Dempsey, 2014). While correlation implies that an independent variable and a dependent variable may be related, it does not imply that a change in one variable leads to a change in the other.

Many healthcare studies arise from the need to quantify the numbers of clients using a particular service in a specific time period or to measure the absence or presence of a particular characteristic in a population or client group. In such cases, the primary objective is to ascertain how many clients are using or in need of the service. However, to provide an appropriate and targeted service, planners need to know if there are any additional characteristics in the client group that may be related to prevalence. If it is suspected that another characteristic is important, the secondary objective of the study will be to measure the strength and direction of any possible relationships between prevalence and this characteristic. Correlational research is used to address this secondary objective ( McLaren 2013 ).


McLaren S ( 2013 ) Planning and conducting surveys. In Curtis EA, Drennan J (Eds) Quantitative Health Research: Issues and Methods. Open University Press, Maidenhead.

Davies, C., & Fisher, M. (2018). Understanding research paradigms. Journal of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses’ Association, 21(3), 21–25

Burns, N., Grove, S. K., & Gray, J. (2015). Understanding nursing research: Building on evidence-based practice (6th ed.). St Louis, MI: Elseiver Saunders

Fisher, M., & Bloomfield, J. (2019). Understanding the research process. Journal of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses’ Association, 22(1), 22–27.

Curtis, E. A., Comiskey, C., & Dempsey, O. (2016). Importance and use of correlational research. Nurse Researcher, 23(6), 20-25. doi:10.7748/nr.2016.e1382


Ashley Madu

RE: Discussion Prompt

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There are four main types of Quantitative research. These include Descriptive/Exploratory, Correlational, Causal-Comparative/Quasi-Experimental, and Experimental Research/Clinical trial. The numerical representation and manipulation of observations for the purpose of defining and explaining the phenomenon that those observations constitute is known as a quantitative study. There are various data collection methods that can be applied to each of these designs, such as questionnaires, scales, and biophysiological methods (Schmidt & Brown, 2018). Descriptive analysis aims to explain the current state of a variable that has been described. Descriptive studies are used to find incidents that are linked to the occurrence of a specific response. Prior to performing an experimental functional analysis, descriptive analysis is often used as part of a systematic functional evaluation of problem behaviour (Sloman, 2010). These studies are intended to provide detailed knowledge about a phenomenon. In this type of research, the researcher typically does not start with a hypothesis, but will most likely establish one after gathering data. The hypothesis is tested by analyzing and synthesizing the data. A major advantage of descriptive research is that it  involves direct observation of behavior in the natural environment, therefore providing a means to gather baseline rates of problem behavior (Sloman, 2010). When an intervention has been formulated and implemented, these rates can be useful in determining treatment effectiveness. A disadvantage of descriptive research include the amount of time and complex data analysis necessary for a complete assessment, the correlational nature of the data, and poor validity outcomes reported in the literature (Sloman, 2010). Descriptive research can be used in nursing practice to solve a clinical problem by linking certain symtpoms that a patient has to determine when the symptoms started, and what their overall health problem is.


Bloomfield, J., & Fisher, M. J. (2019, September). Quantitative research design. Journal of the Australasian Rehabilitation Nurses Association. Cambridge Publishing. Schmidt, N. A., & Brown, J. M. (2018). Evidence-based practice for nurses: Appraisal and application of research. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning. Sloman, K. N. (2010). Research trends in descriptive analysis. The Behavior Analyst Today, 11(1), 20-35.

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