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Research Methodology

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Research Contribution to Practice Area and the Involved Ethical Issues

Nursing is considered to be the practice area for this particular research paper. While identifying the ways, through which research contributes to the practice area of nursing, it can be stated that the healthcare system of this present day context is composite in nature, wherein the needs of the patients vary at an increasing pace (University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2017). Therefore, devising appropriate solutions for the health issues faced by dissimilar population groups necessitates the healthcare providers to explore relevant concepts or theories and use the current knowledge (Schneider et.al., 2013). In this context, the contribution of research to nursing practice area is determined from performing those evidence-based practices that aim at developing the healthcare delivery procedure as per the expectation level (University of North Carolina Wilmington, 2017). Even though research contributes to the nursing practice area by expanding evidence-based practices and developing clinical practices, it involves certain ethical issues that need to be addressed and resolved with the objective of deriving favourable or positive long-term consequences. These ethical issues fundamentally comprise informed consent, voluntary participation and maintenance of privacy of both the research subjects along with the personal information of the involved respondents such as the patients. Researchers must hence obtain an informed consent from the selected participants prior to their participation in any procedure of data collection so as to complete a particular research successfully. Moreover, the researchers should also seek for gaining ethical approval from the respective authorities in order to ensure that the data collection procedure is carried out in an efficient way. It is hence expected that maintaining the privacy of the participants’ personal information and the research subjects would help in maintaining reliability as well as the validity of any selected research (Nursing Times, 2014).

Paradigms of Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative research paradigm is defined as an approach to acquire an in-depth idea about the underlying causes, motivations and opinions, which helps in developing pertinent ideas or applicable hypotheses. The fundamental methods of assembling qualitative data for a research are individual interviews, questionnaire survey and focus group discussion among others (Creswell, 2009). It can hence be observed that various significant ideas, as well as concepts, including interpretivism or idealism, inductive approach and subjectivist, are involved in a specific qualitative research. Interpretivism or idealism is characterised by observation, which helps in drawing inferences by judging the relationship existing amid information and abstract pattern. Conceptually, the inductive approach provides a clear understanding of interacting realities of the events or the phenomena in an orderly way. The subjectivist nature of a qualitative research further represents elucidating underlying theories and existing knowledge to draw the valid inferences (Antwi & Hamza, 2015). On the other hand, the paradigm of quantitative research focuses on quantifying a definite phenomenon, issue or a problem by creating as well as accessing numerical data and converting the same into working statistics (Grinnell & Unrau, 2005). Face-to-face interviews, systematic observations, paper surveys and telephone interviews are identified as certain major methods of accumulating quantitative data for any research. The different ideas and concepts that are involved in a quantitative research are positivism or realism, deductive approach and dualist or objectivist (Antwi & Hamza, 2015).

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In any quantitative research, the idea of positivism or realism is viewed as an organised procedure of making empirical observations to envisage common prototypes of human activities. Researchers often use the deductive approach in a quantitative study with the intention to determine whether the set hypotheses are true or correct. The dualist or the objectivist perspective of a quantitative research emphasises measuring variables and testing hypotheses that are associated with common causal explanations (Antwi & Hamza, 2015).

Strengths and Weaknesses of Different Research Methods within the Qualitative and Quantitative Paradigms

The strengths of different research methods within a qualitative paradigm that encompasses interpretivism or idealism and subjectivist along with inductive approaches include exploration of various ideas or opinions in a concise manner and through better interpretation of facts or data. However, complexities in operations and ineffective flow of information are certain weaknesses of these methods within the qualitative paradigm. On the other hand, determining objectivity and maintaining data precision are certain strengths of different research methods such as positivism or realism and dualist or objectivist and deductive approaches within a quantitative research. Difficulty in understanding relevant concepts and greater need to explain expressions and determine appropriate directions are identified as certain weaknesses of these particular research methods within a quantitative research (Antwi & Hamza, 2015). It is hence expected that accelerating the strengths and overcoming the identified weaknesses of the respective research methods within quantitative as well as qualitative paradigms may ensure a greater level of validity, generalizability and reliability of the overall study findings.

Summative Assessment

Introduction

The assessment intends to analyse and discuss a piece of qualitative or quantitative research relating to healthcare practice and delivery of care. In this assessment, an attempt will be made to provide a brief rationale justifying the choice, outlining the procedure of the search and critiquing the selected article. This assignment will hence start with discussing certain ideas and beliefs, based on which quantitative along with qualitative approaches proceed to explore various concepts or ideas and thereby draw valid inferences. To be precise, the assessment will begin with examining the strengths as well as the weaknesses, appropriate use and application of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Next, the assessment will cover identifying an interesting area to study or practice and provide justifications on the usefulness of the research. In this regard, a clear rationale for selecting the subject of this particular research will be addressed within the assessment by following certain relevant ethical principles. In addition, the assessment will cover outlining the search strategy utilised to identify the research area. A critical evaluation of the study will hence be conducted in this assessment, considering the ways, through which the sample was chosen and the specific methodology applied in the form of data collection. Furthermore, the ways through which the data was collected, handled and investigated will also be discussed in this assessment prior to looking at the conclusions and the suggestions for practice. The assessment will in turn end by drawing conclusions in the form of summarising the main points covered in the research and making a few brief reflective comments.

A Concise Explanation of Research, Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches

Research is simply regarded as a search to obtain knowledge. Conceptually, research is defined as a methodical and a scientific search for pertinent data on a particular topic. To be precise, research is recognised as an art of logical exploration. It comprises various significant aspects such as describing as well as redefining issues, devising hypotheses or recommended solutions and gathering, arranging and assessing relevant data. Moreover, the other aspects include making presumptions, reaching into conclusions and testing the same with care to verify whether these conclusions fit into formulating the hypotheses (Kothari, 2004). According to the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS), research is described as “a systematic investigation, including research development, testing and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” (Iowa State University, 2009; p. 1). The fundamental purpose of research is to address the questions through the exploration of technical modes. Apart from this, the other objectives of research include gaining an acquaintance with a phenomenon or to explore new insights, precisely depicting the features of a specific person, situation or a group, thereby testing hypotheses of the causal relationship existing amid the variables (Kothari, 2004).

One fundamental reason for the researchers to conduct research in an orderly, as well as a technical manner, is to develop and appraise any sort of relevant theory or concept. Therefore, basic research is performed with the objectives of determining the suitability of a given theory or gaining more insights on a specific concept or idea (Bodla, n.d.). There exist two types of approaches, i.e. qualitative and quantitative in nature, based on which a particular research can be performed successfully. In general, quantitative research approach is featured by gathering information, which can be evaluated in a numerical form with the obtained results presented by utilising tables, statistics and graphs among others. This specific research approach aims at conducting tests on pre-determined hypotheses and creating generalizable consequences (Punch, 2013; Hartas, 2010). Correspondingly, qualitative research approach is viewed as a method of obtaining a greater understanding of any underlying opinion, reason and motivation. It certainly plays a critical function in addressing any identified problem and formulating new ideas or hypotheses to draw valid inferences (Luton, 2015; Frost, 2011). The qualitative research approach is exploratory in nature, which holds the objectives of recognising and investigating certain intangible aspects that embrace gender roles, individual feelings, cultural anticipations and religious along with moral implications (ACAPS, 2012).

The ideas and beliefs, based on which qualitative research approach proceeds are identified as post-positivism and constructivism. The conception of post-positivism represents that various ecological and individual distinctions that include the learning culture or the ability of the learners to pose a strong influence for underpinning qualitative research. In contrast, the notion of constructivism unveils the fact that there does not exist any single reality towards exploring a specific phenomenon or addressing an issue (Teherani et.al., 2015). Seeking explanations along with predictions, forming, substantiating as well as authenticating relationships and developing generalizations that contribute to the theory are certain ideas and beliefs, through which quantitative research approach proceeds uniformly (Williams, 2007). Considering that qualitative research approach is ethnographic and interpretative in nature, its various strengths are identified for generating new ways of exploring any phenomenon and shortening as well as managing data without obliterating context and complexity (Atieno, 2009). Furthermore, the other strengths of qualitative research include examining issues in a more detailed manner, a quick revision of research structure and way, the possibility of retrieving data based on human experiences and maintenance of generalizability of the overall results obtained (Anderson, 2010).

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Nevertheless, certain weaknesses in qualitative research approach can also be witnessed that has an impact on smooth completion of a particular research. One of these weaknesses can be observed as that the research quality under qualitative approach is easily impacted by personal biases of the researchers due to its heavy reliance on the individual capabilities of the beneficiaries. The other weakness is that rigour in qualitative research approach is quite hard to preserve, appraise and exhibit, which in turn, affects the generalizability of the overall study results by a certain level. Time-consuming nature of data analysis and interpretation is the other weakness of qualitative research approach (Anderson, 2010). In contrast, the strengths of quantitative research approach can be evaluated as studying the relationship persisting amid dependent and independent variables in a more detailed manner, measuring the obtained data by utilising statistics and offering a helpful illustration of trends (Block, 2006). It has further been apparent that quantitative researches do not study things within a natural setting, which qualitative approaches do to draw valid inferences. Thus, considering this factor, one of the weaknesses of quantitative research approach can be stated as that it disregards the context of a study or an experiment, thereby influencing the generalizability of the overall study findings through a negative view-point (Atieno, 2009).

Appropriate use and application of qualitative method can also be witnessed for the researches, who tend to answer questions and explore any specific phenomenon in varied settings. The researchers often use the qualitative method in their studies with the intention to acquire deeper insights into the particular subjects that have real meaning. While elucidating the appropriate use and application of the qualitative method in any study, it can be noticed that there are distinct sorts of qualitative data, which help in drawing legitimate inferences. These different kinds of qualitative data encompass images, structured interview questionnaires, press clippings, questionnaires of structured interviews and case study notes among others (Anderson, 2010). On the other hand, quantitative method is used and applied in the studies for the purpose of describing or explaining various real-world phenomena. The researchers involved in any specific study consider the quantitative method in order to perform systemic observations over the properties and to determine the associations of the premeditated objectives. The application of quantitative method generally occurs through the measurement of data by using dissimilar statistical techniques encompassing correlation and regression, t-test, ANOVA and descriptive statistics among others. Even though this particular research method has the drawback of external validity i.e. having difficulties to generalize findings to a bigger population, still it is used by the researchers to draw suitable suppositions (Gramatikov et.al., 2010).

Conclusion

The qualitative study considered for this particular research paper added greater understanding about the impacts imposed by foot ulceration on HRQL of the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis. The selected article adopted the data collection technique of in-depth interviews, which were performed with 23 participants i.e. the older adults with rheumatoid arthritis by executing a topic guide. The results derived from this particular study highlighted that the healthcare issue of foot ulceration has an impact on HRQL of the patients suffering from rheumatoid arthritis throughout the social, physical and emotional domains. Based on these results obtained, pain attributing to foot ulceration was associated with new walking disability, thereby affecting the lives of the patients to a considerable extent. As per my understanding, the impact of foot ulceration on HRQL of the patients with rheumatoid arthritis can better comprehend be from imposing new restrictions on leisure activities that reduce social participation by a significant level. I, thus, believe that increased footwear or clothing restrictions have an impact on self-esteem and body image of the people, thereby decreasing their social participation by a certain level.

Ethical considerations further play a decisive role in substantiating overall research objectives and drawing valid inferences. Similarly, in this particular study, certain ethical practices have been performed such as gaining informed consent from the involved interview participants that eventually helped in maintaining the generalizability of the overall research findings at large. As per my understanding, consideration of different ethical practices is also found to play a major role in enhancing the clarity of the results being presented, which would, in turn, be maintained as well while performing future researches in any specific subject area.

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9. Ellis, P., 2013. Understanding Research for Nursing Students, 2nd Ed. Learning Matters.

10. Firth, J. et.al., 2011. A Qualitative Study to Explore the Impact of Foot Ulceration on Health-Related Quality of Life in Patients with Rheumatoid Arthritis. International Journal of Nursing Studies, Vol. 48, pp. 1401-1408.

11. Frost, N., 2011. Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology: Combining Core Approaches. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).

12. Gramatikov, M. et al., 2010. A Handbook for Measuring the Costs and Quality of Access to Justice. Maklu.

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