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Introduction to the Quantitative Research Process

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1 Introduction to the Quantitative Research Process
Chapter 2 Introduction to the Quantitative Research Process

2 Quantitative Research
Formal, objective, rigorous, systematic process for generating information Describes new situations, events, or concepts Examines relationships among variables Determines the effectiveness of treatments

3 Quantitative Research (cont’d)
Descriptive Correlational Quasi-experimental Experimental Increased control with type of study

4 Descriptive Research Exploration and description of phenomena in real-life situations New meaning is discovered and the description of concepts is accomplished Helps to identify relationships

5 Correlational Research
Looks at the relationship between two or more variables Determines the strength and type of relationships Explains what is seen No cause and effect

6 Quasi-experimental Research
Examines cause-and-effect relationships Less control by researcher than true experimental designs Samples are not randomly selected. All variables in the study cannot be controlled by the researcher.

7 Experimental Research
Looks at cause-and-effect relationships Highly controlled, objective, systematic studies Involves the measurement of independent and dependent variables

8 Experimental Research (cont’d)
Main characteristics: Controlled manipulation of at least one independent variable Uses experimental and control groups Random assignment of the sample to the experimental and control groups

9 Concepts Relevant to Quantitative Research
Basic research Applied research Rigor Control Extraneous variables Sampling

10 Basic Research Research for the sake of research
Research to find out the truth Investigating “what is”

11 Applied Research Attempts to solve real problems in clinical practice
Concerns what effects the intervention may have on patients Applies findings in the real world on real patients

12 Rigor in Quantitative Research
Striving for excellence in research and adherence to detail Precise measurement tools, a representative sample, and a tightly controlled study design Logical reasoning is essential. Precision, accuracy, detail, and order required

13 Control in Quantitative Research
Rules are followed to decrease the possibility of error, and are the design of the study. Different levels of control depending on study Quasi-experimental studies partially controlled regarding selection of subjects Experimental studies highly controlled because of precision of sample selection

14 Extraneous Variables in Quantitative Research
These occur in all research studies. They may interfere with the hypothesized relationships between variables. The influence of extraneous variables can be decreased through sample selection and the use of defined research settings.

15 Sampling in Quantitative Research
Process of selecting subjects who are representative of the population Random sampling Each member has an equal chance of being selected. Has the most control Convenience sampling Whoever is available

16 Settings in Quantitative Research
The location where studies take place Must be defined in advance Involved in the rigor and control of the study Types of research settings: Natural or field settings Partially controlled settings Highly controlled or laboratory settings

17 Control in Quantitative Research
Type of Quantitative Research Researcher Control Research Setting Descriptive Uncontrolled Natural or partially controlled Correlational Uncontrolled or partially controlled Natural or partially controlled Quasi-experimental Partially controlled Experimental Highly controlled Laboratory

18 Problem-Solving Process
Data collection Problem definition Plan Setting goals Identifying solutions Implementation Evaluation and revision

19 Steps of the Quantitative Research Process
Research problem and purpose Literature review Study framework Objectives, questions, or hypotheses Study variables

20 Steps of the Quantitative Research Process (cont’d)
Assumptions Limitations Methodological Theoretical Research design Population and sample Methods of measurement

21 Steps of the Quantitative Research Process (cont’d)
Data collection and analysis Research outcomes Communication of findings

22 Research Problem and Purpose
Research problem is an area of concern needing research for nursing practice. The problem identifies, describes, or predicts the research situation. Research purpose comes from the problem and identifies the specific goal or aim of the study. The purpose includes variables, population, and setting for the study.

23 Literature Review Collecting pertinent literature to give in-depth knowledge about the problem Understanding what knowledge exists to make changes in practice

24 Study Framework Framework is the abstract, theoretical basis for a study that enables the researcher to link the findings to nursing’s body of knowledge. Theory is an integrated set of defined concepts and relational statements that present a view of a phenomenon and can be used to describe, explain, predict, or control phenomena.

25 Research Objectives, Questions, and Hypotheses
All identify relationship between variables and indicate population to be studied Narrower in focus than the purpose and often specify only one or two research variables

26 Study Variables Variables are concepts that are measured, manipulated, or controlled in a study. Concrete variables: temperature, weight Abstract variables: creativity, empathy Conceptual definition: gives meaning to a concept Operational definition: variable can be measured using this description

27 Example of Definitions: Physical Symptoms
Conceptual definition Physical symptoms are “behavioral manifestations that result directly from the traumagenic dynamics of child sexual abuse.” (Hulme & Grove, 1994, p. 522) Operational definition ASI questionnaire was used to measure physical symptoms

28 Assumptions Statements are taken for granted or are considered true.
Assumptions are often unrecognized in thinking and behavior. Sources of assumptions are universally accepted truths. They are often embedded in the philosophical base of the study’s framework.

29 Limitations Restrictions in a study that may decrease the credibility and generalizability of the findings Theoretical limitations Restrict the generalization of the findings Reflected in the framework and definitions Methodological limitations Restrict the population to which the findings can be generalized May result from an unrepresentative sample or weak design

30 Research Design Blueprint for conducting the study
Maximizes control over factors that could interfere with the study’s desired outcome Directs the selection of the population, sampling, methods of measure, plans for data collection, and analysis

31 Population and Sample Population Sample
All elements that meet certain criteria for inclusion in study Example: all women students in higher education Sample A subset of the population that is selected for study Example: women students in three state universities in the Southwest (Hulme & Grove, 1994)

32 Methods of Measurement
Assigning numbers to objects Application of rules to development of a measurement device or instrument Data are gathered at the nominal, ordinal, interval, or ratio level of measurement. Must examine reliability and validity of measurement tool Reliability: consistency of the tool Validity: does it measure what it is supposed to measure?

33 Data Collection Precise, systematic gathering of information for the study Consent must be obtained from the sample. Researchers use observation, interviews, questionnaires, or scales to gather information. Described under the “procedures” section of a research article

34 Data Analysis Reduce, organize, and give meaning to data
Descriptive and inferential analysis of data

35 Results Descriptions of findings after data were analyzed
Usually organized by research objectives, questions, or hypotheses

36 Research Outcomes Interprets data findings in meaningful manner
Involves forming conclusions and considering implications for nursing Suggests future studies Generalizes the findings

37 Research Reports and Communication of Findings
Summarizes major elements of a study and identifies contributions of study to nursing knowledge Presented at professional meetings and conferences and published in journals and books

38 Content of Research Reports
Abstract—summary of study in 100 to 250 words Introduction—problem, purpose, literature, framework, and hypothesis Methods—design, sample, setting, tool Results—data analysis procedures Discussion—findings, conclusions, implications Reference list—all sources cited

39 Skimming a Research Report
Quickly review source for broad overview. Read title, author’s name, abstract, introduction, and discussion. Examine conclusions and implications. Give preliminary judgment of study.

40 Comprehending a Research Report
Type of study conducted—highlight key points Knowledge available on topic Expertise of researcher Replication versus original research Funding resources of researcher Amount of funding Sources of funding

41 Analyzing a Research Report
Examine parts of report in depth for accuracy, completeness, uniqueness of information, and organization. Was research process logically presented? Examine discussion section for critical arguments.

42 Initial Research Report Critique
What type of study was conducted? What was the setting for the study? Were steps for the research process clearly identified? Were any of steps missing? Did the steps logically link together?

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