1. Pierce, Linda L. PhD, RN, CRRN, FAAN

Article Content

Quantitative research designs use numbers to obtain precise measurements to investigate an area of interest. Qualitative research designs use words to describe human behavior. Mixed method designs incorporate both quantitative and qualitative schemes within the same inquiry.1 This instructor-created 30-minute activity assists undergraduate nursing students distinguish between these two design frameworks. First, give each student two medium-sized sticky notes. Ask students to choose a number between 1 and 20 and write that number on one sticky note. On the second sticky note, tell students to write what that number means to him or her, for example, special day/month or lucky number. Then, have students stick only the note with their number to a board at the front of the classroom under groupings of 1 to 5, 6 to 10, 11 to 15, or 16 to 20. With students' input, the instructor determines the median, mode, and range, plus the groups' percentages for these numbers. Next, initiate a discussion focused on the student's chosen number (quantitative design), for example, more male or female students in the highest percentage grouping. Conclude by having students share the meaning of their chosen number written on that second note (qualitative design), for example, birthday/anniversary or team numeral. Students report this design activity increased their confidence, and the instructor found students performed well when critically appraising published research for evidence-based practice.




1. Schmidt NA, Brown JM. Evidence-Based Practice for Nursing. 4th ed. Jones & Bartlett Learning; 2019. [Context Link]