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Goals of nursing, Health care, Qualitative research



  1. Cypress, Brigitte S. EdD, RN, CCRN


There has been a general view of qualitative research as a lower level form of inquiry and the diverse conceptualizations of what it is, its use or utility, its users, the process of how it is conducted, and its scientific merit. This fragmented understanding and varied ways in which qualitative research is conceived, synthesized, and presented have a myriad of implications in demonstrating and enhancing the utilization of its findings and the ways and skills required in transforming knowledge gained from it. The purpose of this article is to define qualitative research and discuss its significance in research, the questions it addresses, its characteristics, methods and criteria for rigor, and the type of results it can offer. A framework for understanding the "what," "why," "who," and "how" of qualitative research; the different approaches; and the strategies to achieve trustworthiness are presented. Qualitative research provides insights into health-related phenomena and seeks to understand and interpret subjective experience and thus humanizes health care and can enrich further research inquiries and be made clearer and more rigorous as it is relevant to the perspective and goals of nursing.