I almost dropped this class-the second semester of Nurse Research. The professor was pretty much incognito and it was all so confusing but I took the day off to write up my second paper-a critique of a qualitative study…
Amazingly enough I am enjoying it! I assisted in setting up contacts for an ethnographic study in England. I was meant to be able to do some observations but it became an ethical conflict of interest because my nursing registration would require me to act in instances where I knew proper care was not being done. The observers ended up being sociologists and psychologists but at least I “get it”.
I think I prefer Qualitative research-it is about looking at phenomena or a cultural situation and investigating how the people involved or affected by it describe their situation. It’s very touchy feely…like this one about how mothers cope with a child that suffers a birth trauma injury called Brachial Plexus Injury.
or the infamous WHO ranking of national healthcare systems (all 214 pages that never gets read and is widely criticized) which gets filtered down to a sound bite of basically free cheese for anyone who wants to diss the US.
Qualitative research is a systematic collection and synthesis of anecdotes. They are human experience translated by a slow, painstaking coding process by dedicated researchers that describe in vivid, encompassing detail a particular experience often shared by a relatively small group of people. These are not large studies with thousands of people-these are often less than 50 participants but if it’s your unique experience then it is invaluable and validating.
back to the books!