Weighing the Evidence




Critiquing Quantitative, Qualitative, or Mixed Methods Studies

Adenike George

Walden University

NURS 6052: Essentials of Evidence-Based Practice

April 11, 2019

Critique of Quantitative, Qualitative, or Mixed Method Design

Both quantitative and qualitative methods play a pivotal role in nursing research. Qualitative research helps nurses and other healthcare workers to understand the experiences of the patients on health and illness. Quantitative data allows researchers to use an accurate approach in data collection and analysis. When using quantitative techniques, data can be analyzed using either descriptive statistics or inferential statistics which allows the researchers to derive important facts like demographics, preference trends, and differences between the groups. The paper comprehensively critiques quantitative and quantitative techniques of research. Furthermore, the author will also give reasons as to why qualitative methods should be regarded as scientific.

The overall value of quantitative and Qualitative Research

Quantitative studies allow the researchers to present data in terms of numbers. Since data is in numeric form, researchers can apply statistical techniques in analyzing it. These include descriptive statistics like mean, mode, median, standard deviation and inferential statistics such as ANOVA, t-tests, correlation and regression analysis. Statistical analysis allows us to derive important facts from data such as preference trends, demographics, and differences between groups. For instance, by conducting a mixed methods study to determine the feeding experiences of infants among teen mothers in North Carolina, Tucker and colleagues were able to compare breastfeeding trends among various population groups. The multiple groups compared were likely to initiate breastfeeding as follows: Hispanic teens 89%, Black American teens 41%, and White teens 52% (Tucker et al., 2011).

The high strength of quantitative analysis lies in providing data that is descriptive. The descriptive statistics helps us to capture a snapshot of the population. When analyzed appropriate, the descriptive data enables us to make general conclusions concerning the population. For instance, through detailed data analysis, Tucker and co-researchers were able to observe that there were a large number of adolescents who ceased breastfeeding within the first month drawing the need for nurses to conduct individualized follow-ups the early days after hospital discharge. These follow-ups would significantly assist in addressing the conventional technical problems and offer support in managing back to school transition (Tucker et al., 2011).

Qualitative research allows researchers to determine the client’s perspective on healthcare. It enables researchers to observe certain behaviors and experiences among the population making appropriate conclusions. For example, by conducting a qualitative study to assess the perspectives of hospital-based nurses on initiating best practices for breastfeeding, Wedding and colleagues were able to point the existence of a disparity between the nurses’ intention to support breastfeeding. Therefore, Wedding et al. (2011) concluded that there is a need to provide these nurses at non-BF/BFI hospitals with an education based on WHO Baby Friendly standards.

Reasons why Qualitative research should be classified as a real science.

If one tells me that qualitative research is not real science, I would disagree with that person. The commonly known examples of qualitative methods include case studies, open-ended interviews, and observations. The reason why many people view them as non-scientific is that they ignore statistical inferences and concentrate on collecting in-depth data to answer the research question comprehensively. Qualitative techniques have low reliability and are usually discredited since they are regarded as less scientific. Although qualitative data seems to lack scientific attributes, we should not underestimate these methods and take them at face value. Qualitative methods of study pass the four criteria used for determining whether a process is scientific namely replicability, precision, falsifiability, and parsimony, and are thus scientific.


It is difficult to underestimate the importance of quantitative and qualitative research in nursing. Quantitative methods allow us to present data in terms of numbers, and thus we can draw essential facts such as preference trends, demographics, and differences between groups. Through the use of qualitative techniques, we can be able to observe certain behaviors and the lived experiences of the study populations. There are four criteria used to discern whether a method is scientific or not. These are replicability, precision, falsifiability, and parsimony. It would be wrong to classify qualitative methods as non-scientific since they pass the above criteria.


Tucker, C. M., Wilson, E. K., & Samandari, G. (2011). Infant feeding experiences among teen mothers in North Carolina: Findings from a mixed-methods study. International Breastfeeding Journal6(1), 14.

Weddig, J., Baker, S. S., & Auld, G. (2011). Perspectives of hospital‐based nurses on breastfeeding initiation best practices. Journal of Obstetric, Gynecologic & Neonatal Nursing40(2), 166-178.