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Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research Essay

This essay will initially present the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research and briefly quantitative research. It will then go on to critique a qualitative research article yet due to the word count only several factors of this will be critiqued and the article is by Wills’ et al (2005). Later it will consider the use of the research paper within the clinical practice area; and discuss whether the results are beneficial to the nursing profession. The implications for care delivery will be addressed and finally a conclusion will be given which will include recommendations for future practice through research.

There are two forms of research methods and these are qualitative and quantitative; there are many advantages and disadvantages for using them to gather information; yet depending on the answer to be found this determines the research approach used. Some advantages of using qualitative research are that it can provide an in-depth understanding of behaviour, a description of people’s opinions and it can explore feelings, all of these are through communicating and observing (Parahoo, 2006). Qualitative research is flexible and quantitative research is selected or constructed prior to the datum being gathered (Parahoo, 2006). Disadvantages of qualitative research are they are costly and time consuming.

The approach used in this research was a grounded theory which is

Qualitative research (QR) is the method of inquiry that seeks to understand social phenomena within the context of the participants’ perspectives and experiences. The research methods of QR are more flexible, responsive, and open to contextual interpretation than in quantitative research, which uses inventory, questionnaire, or numerical data to draw conclusion (Merriam, ….).

In order to critique this article a number of the research factors will be addressed, the first being the credibility of the authors. The article does not state the job descriptions of the researchers however it does state where they work within Universities that conduct research. With their job description not being mentioned it is possible that the researchers are not qualified to conduct research or if they are it is unknown how they where trained and Polit & Beck (….) suggest that researchers should have adequate training in order to conduct reliable research.

The title of the research study says that is about young peoples perceptions of their own bodies and that of others and it states that it is a qualitative study however through the study it talks about children from socioeconomically disadvantaged areas and this should have been mentioned in the title as it is a huge part of their findings that more overweight children live inside these areas.

Sampling of where obese children live was obtained from a reputable source…….

A small sample size was used which is considered necessary for a qualitative approach, and it also contained the same amount of boys as girls which would of give the research overall richer data……….

The collection of data is essential as this is where ……

In the initial questionnaire given to the children they were asked various questions about their sociodemographic information; one of which was how do they perceive their body to be too fat, too thin or about right. Further on into the information about the data collection the research states that when the children were interviewed the interviewer did not use value-laden words which they say for example are fat and big. This contradicts what was originally stated in the data collection as the word fat was in the initial screening questionnaire. It may have introduced the children to that term although maybe not intentionally. This can be seen as a bias to how the research information was found.

Height and weight measurements were also taken to establish a Body Mass Index (BMI) for the children and a small minority of girls chose not to take part as they were anxious about being weighed in school (Wills et al, 2005), it does not however say if the anxieties expressed by the girls were addressed and intervention for it given.

The interviews were conducted by the author and this can be seen as making it more reliable as there would be no confusion as to misinterpretation from another interviewer. All interviews were tape recorded which is useful for the interviewer to analyse the data, however notes where not taken and if the tape recorder was lost or broken then there would be no information gained from that interview.

Questions that deal with in-depth descriptions are best conducted from a flexible design and unstructured method of data collection (Polit & Hungler).

A non-directive method was used for the interviews which enabled new perspectives to emerge for example bullying and exercise and Parahoo (2006) strengthens this by saying that conducting qualitative research can allow participants to put responses into context and this will emerge with new data and it is called holistic exploration. Through new perspectives emerging it can give suggestions for future research topics based around obesity and this is an advantage to this research.

Data Analysis

It is not possible to know the researchers body weights and it may be considered that could their weight have affected the children’s comments. If a quantitative research method was used then it may have been able to answer the question of why are these children overweight.

Pseudonym names were given as to protect the identity of the children and decontextualised data was conducted to ensure individuals could not be identified…….

During the initial weighing of the children some girls experienced anxiety and there was no reporting of any intervention or follow up care for the girls………

However what was extremely useful about the research was……….

This article could be valuable in changing practice as it has enabled a start point for further research to be conducted; this is relevant as the United Kingdom’s populations are becoming more overweight and this can have serious health implications.

Consent was given from the children and also obtained from their parents which is essential when research is being conducted on children. There are two types of consent and they are informed consent and consent……

Conclusion and recommendations for future practice

It can be said that both quantitative and qualitative research have both advantages and disadvantages however this is only determined by people criticising the work of others.

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