Critiquing a Qualitative Research Study

When conducting research, there are two main approaches one may apply in order to arrive at a desired conclusion. These approaches are quantitative research and qualitative research. Qualitative research deals with expressing explications concerning certain societal phenomena with the aim of helping people comprehend the environment they inhabit and why particular events take place. Such research seeks to find answers to questions that start as follows: ‘Why…?’, ‘How…?’ and ‘In what way…?’ Therefore, qualitative research analyses people’s experience and opinions as well as the feelings of individuals; afterwards, this information is transformed into subjective data. It describes diverse social phenomena as they occur naturally. The article “Using Clinical Nurses as Preceptors to Teach Leadership and Management to Senior Nursing Students: A Qualitative Descriptive Study” employs the use of qualitative research. The purpose of this paper is to critique on how the article employs the use of this research method.

The topic of the research study clearly identifies the key phenomenon and the group under investigation. Therefore, this topic clearly states the purpose of the study, thereby avoiding ambiguity in the research theme. Its title, however, is too abstract; as a result, it relies on the feelings and emotions of the research participants to fulfil the study’s objective. Relying on nurses to gain a better comprehension of the nurse preceptors’ experience makes the study too abstract since the experiences of different nurse preceptors may differ from one nurse to another. The length of the title is equally excessively long and may suffer the risk of ambiguity and lack of clarity in its theme. A qualitative research article requires a brief and precise title in order to avoid being redundantly robust.

The researcher clearly identifies the purpose and significance of the study. This is stated unambiguously in the summary of the study. It is aimed at deriving a better understanding of the nurse preceptor’s experience. The study seeks to educate senior nursing students by employing already experienced nurses as tutors in order to encourage good management skills. In addition, the significance of the study is identified and the researcher explains how it adds to the body of existing knowledge in the nursing education. The study aims at using the findings of the research to develop better support for preceptors as well as more structured and consistent orientation for this role. The nurses who participated in the study found it worthwhile and made a lot of personal and professional gains by helping the students under the research to enhance performance (Jennifer 2007). The article, however, fails to state the reason for using the qualitative method of collecting and evaluating data when carrying out a research in this area. Moreover, the study similarly fails to develop research questions; the absence of this information is not adequately explained. Lack of research questions makes it difficult for one to understand the study’s philosophical basis, the underlying traditions, the conceptual framework, or even the ideological orientation. It is important to develop research questions in case the method of research being used is qualitative research (Michael 2001).

The method of sampling utilized is clearly representative of the study’s group of interest. The investigation employs a purposive sampling method which ensures variation in terms of age, gender, educational level, and years of experience and level of education. This is essential when the nurses under the research represent different years of experience, ranging from 7 to 26 years, while the nurses with diploma, as well as baccalaureate degrees, are represented in the study. The sample size was appropriately small as the researcher was not seeking to generalize the results of the study.

Finally, the methods applied in data collection and analysis were appropriate. In data collection, the researcher conducted the interviews at either the participants place or the researcher’s place; as a consequence, there were no interruptions as the interview took approximately 20-40 minutes. Similarly, data collection took place through a continued period of three months, thus collecting perceptions which were consistent in manner. However, the researcher used only one method of data collection, thereby failing to achieve triangulation in the data received. The data analysis was appropriately performed through the use of particular computer software, Nvivo.

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