Fitting Square Pegs Into Round Holes: Doing Qualitative Nursing Research in a Quantitative World

Lorelei Newton, Sally Kimpson

Abstract


The authors, as doctoral candidates and registered nurses, took on a qualitative research project investigating nursing practice in a research-intensive organization. Their aims were to explore and describe how nurses in the ambulatory care setting assist patients and families, including how nursing practice was carried out, constraints to practice, and the influence of the interprofessional milieu. Their first finding, in part because of the qualitative research design used, concerned the potential impact of the organizational ethics review process on the project. The authors discuss how the language, definition of risk, and notion of informed consent articulated in the organizational review process influenced both the research timeline and (potentially) the study itself. While not dismissing the value of ethics review, they explore the tension of overlaying generic criteria for quantitative research, specifically randomized controlled trials, on nursing research from other traditions.

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