Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research

Qualitative research is characterized by its aims, which relate to understanding some aspect of social life and its methods which (in general) generate words, rather than numbers, as data for analysis. For researchers more familiar with quantitative methods, which aim to mea- sure something (such as the percentage of people with a particular disease in a community or the number of households owning a bed net), the aims and methods of qualitative research can seem imprecise.

Qualitative methods generally aim to understand the experiences and attitudes of patients, the community or healthcare worker. These methods aim to answer ques- tions about the ‘what’, ‘how’ or ‘why’ of a phenomenon rather than ‘how many’ or ‘how much’, which are answered by quantitative methods. If the aim is to understand how a community or individuals within it perceive a particular issue, then qualitative methods are often appropriate.1

The personality of the researcher (and his/her integ- rity) may play a much greater role than in quantitative research. Therefore, the quality of raw data is essential. If the data are not of high quality, all statistical calcula- tions will be either wrong or of inferior quality. So, for qualitative research, the researcher will be important to ensure the quality of the process, since he/she will need

to interpret data after its acquisition; in contrast, in quantitative research, the quality of the raw data will be more important.

Numerous studies have been constructed into the field of research on human services, utilizing both quan- titative and qualitative methodologies and, in some instances, a combination. For the purposes of this paper, quantitative research is selected as a possible methodol- ogy, therefore, elements of this type of research are eval- uated regarding if quantitative research meets the criteria needed when investigating the broad topic per- taining to general human services.

Adding to this observation, it is interesting to note that numerous scholars are of the opinion that the “gap” between qualitative and quantitative research is too

Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research

K McCusker1 and S Gunaydin2

Abstract Research is fundamental to the advancement of medicine and critical to identifying the most optimal therapies unique to particular societies. This is easily observed through the dynamics associated with pharmacology, surgical technique and the medical equipment used today versus short years ago. Advancements in knowledge synthesis and reporting guidelines enhance the quality, scope and applicability of results; thus, improving health science and clinical practice and advancing health policy. While advancements are critical to the progression of optimal health care, the high cost associated with these endeavors cannot be ignored. Research fundamentally needs to be evaluated to identify the most efficient methods of evaluation. The primary objective of this paper is to look at a specific research methodology when applied to the area of clinical research, especially extracorporeal circulation and its prognosis for the future.

Keywords extracorporeal circulation; clinical methodology research; mixed methods; research methodology; human services

1New York Medical College, Valhalla, New York, USA 2Medline Hospital, Eskisehi, Turkey

Corresponding author: Kevin McCusker 188 Gosport Road Portsmouth New Hampshire 03801 USA. Email:

559116 PRF0010.1177/0267659114559116PerfusionMcCusker et al. research-article2014