Research is a vital aspect of modern nursing practice. Nurses have become advocates for their patient’s safety and health quality. Nursing research is necessary due to its timely contribution to evidence-based practice with a priority set on the contemporary findings in the essential areas of health care. A nurse practitioner who conducts research practice is the one who possesses advanced knowledge provides quality patient care and develops his or her field of expertise. To succeed at this activity, one should comprehend the basic principles of research, its types, and primary tools. In this paper, the importance of nursing research will be articulated within the framework of the understanding of the main aspects of the research process. An insight into quantitative and qualitative research, sampling strategies, and nursing practice credibility will be presented. The purpose of the article is to elaborate on the most significant aspects of nursing research as it appears in contemporary practice to demonstrate its vital importance for patient safety and quality care.
Quantitative studies are the type of research in which the exact information rendered in numbers or statistical data is represented. In nursing, this kind of research helps to identify the relationships between different factors. Since quantitative studies employ precise calculations or verifiable outcome information, they are of great importance for the nursing practice. Precision is one of the crucial factors in health care, where information credibility predetermines the life outcomes for the patient. Effectively conducted quantitative research might contribute to the scope of knowledge in the effects of a particular drug or intervention on different patient groups, which will increase the level of successful treatment outcomes.
One of the types of quantitative design is experimental design. An experiment is a method that allows for creating the artificial background to study the outcomes on a limited number of participants. Experimental conditions might vary depending on the purpose of a study. However, its ultimate aim is to retrieve evidence-based information about a particular issue with its further application to practice. For example, an experiment with a control and experimental group allows for investigating the effects of a newly introduced drug on patients in comparison to other medications. Thus, one of the most critical features of experimental design is that it enables the collection of practically applicable information in the controlled environment. From a long-term perspective, the implications of the findings are crucial and lead to advancement in the nursing field.
As opposed to quantitative research, qualitative studies do not employ specific data represented in numbers or strictly defined inter-dependences. While quantitative methods provide empiric information, qualitative research embraces the field of scientific practice in which utilizes such methods as observations or descriptions to provide general implications about an investigated issue. This method is crucial for nursing because it fosters the communicational side of the nurse-patient interaction. Indeed, the primary goal of nurses’ work is patients’ safety and satisfaction with health care services. Understanding patients’ needs and providing support and appropriate care for them are the factors that predetermine the level of nurse professionalism.
One of the examples of qualitative research designs is a case study. A case study is a type of qualitative design that allows for obtaining “an understanding of the whole of the phenomenon under investigation” by examining one example in a particular context (Cope, 2015, p. 681). For example, researchers investigate a behavioral pattern in disease recovery of a specific population by collecting, analyzing, and descriptively interpreting data. The implications of the obtained results for broader populations allow nurses to predict patients’ experiences and help them overcome some obstacles.
Qualitative research methods contribute to the improvement of nursing practice because they provide data characteristic of the interaction between a nurse and a patient. This communicational aspect of work is becoming more and more decisive for nursing practice due to the growing customer-oriented nature of the profession. Therefore, the findings of qualitative research might advance the professional skills of nurses in their everyday care for patients.
Sampling is a process of choosing a particular number of study participants from a large population depending on the objectives of the research. When investigating an issue, “researchers calculate the required sample size before beginning the study, and that size remains a constant target throughout the study” (Guetterman, 2015, p. 2). This process is an integral part of research because the validity of the participants’ choices predetermines the overall credibility of the outcomes. Many factors, including age, gender, income level, genetics, and the like, might be crucial in the choice of the sample population. Therefore, it is essential to understand the principles and strategies of sampling.
Random or probability sampling is one of the strategies used in quantitative research that allows for investigating general trends on the example of a randomly chosen group of participants. Every person in a population has an equal chance of being selected for research. In such a manner, researchers are led only by a prior determined number of participants (sample size) and attract the individuals at random.
Another strategy is a snowball sampling technique which is used in qualitative research. Within this approach of sampling, the researchers choose a limited initial number of participants who attract other participants. Snowball sampling is a non-probability type that enables finding individuals who are difficult to access. This method allows for extensive studying of the issues specific for small populations and provide3s an opportunity to investigate challenging problems in detail.
Credible Nursing Practice
The credibility of nursing practice is a priority of modern health care. With the advancement in the diverse fields of medicine, the patients’ expectations are high, and the reliability of interventions are required. Patients’ safety is regarded as the most valuable issue in nursing. Therefore, ensuring the credible scientific basis of all the decisions made by a nurse should be preserved. It is possible to achieve through extensive and precise research with the application of the most effective methods and techniques.
Both qualitative and quantitative research approaches to expand the scope of nursing practice contributing new insights and findings to the field. Under the circumstances of the contemporary rapidly evolving world, it is vital to be updated on the available tools and knowledge to provide the best quality of service. Health care is one of the dominant spheres for which these implications are decisive. Operating with evidence-based experience, nurses will be able to understand all the processes in-depth and find credible solutions for the most challenging problems.
Despite a great variety of responsibilities nurses bear on an everyday basis, the ultimate purpose of their work is preserving patients’ safety and health. To achieve this multifaceted task, the nursing staff has to obtain credible, up-to-date, evidence-based knowledge. Therefore, nursing research is a vitally important sphere of professional development. By understanding the basics of research types, sampling techniques, and the importance of research in general, nursing practitioners will be able to perform at a high level of professionalism.
Cope, D. G. (2015). Case study research methodology in nursing research. Oncology Nursing Forum, 42(6), 681-682.
Guetterman, T. (2015). Descriptions of sampling practices within five approaches to qualitative research in education and the health sciences. Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 16(2). Web.