Nursing research has not evolved with immunity from the qualitative–quantitative debate which has surrounded the behavioural and social sciences. The outcome of this debate should be better nursing science since researchers are forced to face and address the controversial issues. Attaining this goal requires researchers to debate the issues with a knowledge of epistemology and methodology and not blind devotion to the tradition of the hard sciences. This paper addresses the issues of epistemology, methodology, and ethics for two prototypes of the qualitative–quantitative continuum. Grounded theory explains the issues of qualitative research: the search for meaning, the inclusion of environmental factors, the depth of data, and the treatment of participants as subjects. The true experiment, the epitomy of the quantitative approach, seeks to identify existing truths by isolating the significant variables and controlling for contaminating factors. Based on these arguments, recommendations are made for nursing research which rely on both approaches.
Journal of Advanced Nursing – Wiley
Published: May 1, 1985
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