Master’s Level Nursing Research Methods

Discuss the differences between research, research utilization (RU), and evidence-based practice (EBP). You may want to link this to the historical evolution of research in nursing

Research, research utilization, and evidence-based practice are integral aspects of contemporary nursing. Both RU and EBP are interconnected concepts that presuppose the extraction and application of knowledge obtained from research.

Research, in its turn, is aimed at the generation of new knowledge or validation of the existing theories (Conner, 2014). Research is a systematic process based on scientific inquiry. Its goal is to investigate, explore, and discover some problems to answer research questions or test hypotheses. Research generally presupposes publication of the results at its final stage. RU is the procedure that implies synthesis, dissemination, and application of knowledge obtained during the research. It is a well-known practice developed for bringing research findings to practice.

EBP is different from research in the aspect that it does not develop new knowledge or proves the existing theories. The goal of EBP is to translate the evidence obtained during research and use it in decisions related to patient care. Unlike RU, EBP does not only manipulates research data but also implies opinions of experts that are not supported by research. EBP is used to collect the best evidence about a burning issue and analyze it critically.

Moreover, it allows integrating this evidence with real clinical practice and assessing their applicability (Conner, 2014). Another step of EBP is the assessment of change implemented based on the obtained evidence or the efficiency of practice decisions. Finally, EBP presupposes dissemination of results, which is similar to research findings’ publication, but in the case of EBP, the audience is smaller.

Identify and discuss two major ways in which qualitative research differs from quantitative research. Is one better than the other? Provide reference(s)

One of the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research is the processes used in them. Thus, qualitative research applies mainly inductive processes for developing hypotheses or formulating a theory. At the same time, quantitative research uses deductive processes because it is aimed at testing the hypotheses, concepts, and constructs that create a theory. Another important difference is data used for research. Qualitative research manipulates verbal narrative, which comprises written data such as previous studies or spoken data obtained through interviews. Qualitative research, on the contrary, uses logical and statistical analysis as the basis for conclusions. Still, both qualitative and quantitative research applies a variety of tools to collects data, such as questionnaires, surveys, laboratory data, literature search, and many others.

One type of research cannot be considered better than the other because they have different purposes. Qualitative research is more explanatory, while quantitative is confirmatory (Rhodes, Dawson, Kelly, & Renshall, 2013). However, due to their peculiarities, qualitative research is more suitable for cases where the research process itself is important, while quantitative is better for studies that are result-oriented.

Finally, the applicability of qualitative or quantitative research depends on the expected result. Thus, qualitative research is preferable when researchers aim to develop the initial understanding of a problem, while quantitative one should be selected for studies that are expected to recommend a course of action based on the research findings. Moreover, quantitative research is considered to be more reliable due to the use of numerical data and bigger samples that it involves.

Discuss sources of bias for both quantitative and qualitative research. For quantitative research, be sure to address both random and systematic bias. You may use examples from the articles you selected as illustrations of bias and/or preventing bias

Bias is characteristic of the majority of studies and can have an impact on the validity and reliability of results. Therefore, it is crucial to differentiate the possible biases for qualitative and quantitative investigation and consider them. In qualitative research, the major bias is related to the personality of a researcher who may not be objective during data interpretation. Another bias can be caused by wrong sample selection when it does not represent the identified population in the necessary way (Malone, Nicholl, & Tracey, 2014).

On the whole, there are two broad categories that comprise different biases. They are random and systematic biases (Malone et al., 2014). Random bias is usually accidental and happens due to minor drawbacks in research planning. For example, in case a random sample selection bias is observed, it can be reduced by increasing the sample size. Systematic bias can be observed in both qualitative and quantitative studies.

It can lead to the lack of association between variables and thus reduce the value of findings. For example, the bias in study design can cause discrepancies between aims and methods of research. Another bias that can lead to unsatisfactory research outcomes is the one related to data collection and measurement (Smith & Noble, 2014). It can be caused by the researcher’s impact on the way data are collected in qualitative studies. Measurement bias is more typical of qualitative studies and is usually explained by the wrong choice of a tool or an instrument.


Conner, B. T. (2014). Differentiating research, evidence-based practice, and quality improvement. American Nurse Today. Web.

Malone, H., Nicholl, H., & Tracey, C. (2014). Awareness and minimization of systematic bias in research. British Journal of Nursing, 23(5), 278-282.

Rhodes, P., Dawson, L., Kelly, A., & Renshall, K. (2013). Introducing qualitative research into a psychology program: Co-learning, hospitality and rigor. International Journal of Innovation in Science and Mathematics Education, 21(1), 18-28.

Smith, J., & Noble, H. (2014). Bias in research. Evidence-Based Nursing, 17(4), 100-102.