Hospital Errors and Infections: Research Methods

Subject: Sciences
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Study level: College


To conduct a successful and valid research, it is important to determine the methods one is going to use during it. There are various methods in healthcare researches that are used; they are all based on research paradigms also known as qualitative and quantities methods. Depending on the type of research, the researcher can choose one or another method to present the data, analysis, and results. Research and biostatistics may be complicated, but they allow the authors of the research increase its validity and provide proofs that the research bias was avoided. There can be various designs of the research or study (including cross-sectional survey, qualitative study, meta-analysis, etc.) (Jacobsen, 2011). In the next paragraph, qualitative and quantitative types of researches will be examined to understand their differences, advantages, and disadvantages.

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Research Method and Design Appropriateness

The main research methodologies that are frequently used in healthcare researches are the qualitative and quantitative research methods. These both methods are based on different philosophical approaches, namely on naturalistic (qualitative) and positivistic (quantitative) approaches. The qualitative method targets the experiences of the target population to analyze the meaning of a phenomenon; in return, the quantitative method examines statistic differences to explain a phenomenon (Howlett, Rogo, & Shelton, 2013). Sampling in qualitative research is usually small, while quantitative research implies large sampling that is also random. To conduct a quantitative research, the setting will be preferably controlled by the researchers and the method’s design. One of the main differences between these two methods is the data they examine. It is typical for qualitative research to summon the data that is transmitted in observations, in a textual or visual form (Howlett et al., 2013). Interviews, notes, and recordings usually present qualitative data. The quantitative data is numerical and collected from the sampling population (Howlett et al., 2013). In qualitative researches, deduction is used, while qualitative researches prefer inductive approach. The researchers actively engage in the research, e.g. they take interviews, examine the phenomenon and provide thoughts on it, etc. Quantitative research implies the researchers contact the participants rarely and almost do not engage with the phenomenon. The researchers are not interested in the subjects themselves, but in the data they provide.

As my study is going to be a descriptive research project, it is possible to assume that qualitative method is the one that is suitable for it. However, the project is not going to be qualitative research per se, but it will rather include some of the approaches used in the qualitative research. Numerical data will not be provided, but data in a textual and visual form will be presented during my project. As I will focus on the literature that describes the phenomenon, induction, i.e. search for descriptions, will be used (Howlett et al., 2013). The main aim of qualitative research is to gain a deeper understanding of a phenomenon, which is close to the goal I have set for my research. Qualitative research is time-consuming, but it does not mean that quantitative research is conducted extremely fast. Sometimes, quantitative researches demand much more time than qualitative ones. It is also not easy to share the data gained during qualitative research, as it can be audio or video recordings that need to be transcripted. Moreover, all information about the subjects is confidential; that is why it is important to filter the information that is to be included in the research.


It is important to determine the target population of the project correctly, as it will have a direct impact on the data and results of the study. The study population is the part of a target population; it is the population on which the project will focus to establish a link between phenomena or analyze the role of a phenomenon. The study population is “a very large fraction of the target population” (Jewell, 2011). The difference between the target and the study population is that the researchers can sample data from the latter; however, it is physically impossible to collect data from the target population.

The study population of my project is patients who were diagnosed with hospital-acquired infections and conditions; at the state level, thousands of people suffer from hospital-acquired infections every year. The mortality rate among these patients is high and should be taken into consideration (100,000 fatal outcomes per year). The study population consists of infants, children, young adults, adults, and senior citizens. The population accessible for me is the patients from the local hospitals that can provide necessary data during the interviews.

Sampling Frame

The sampling frame of the project is the part of the study population, except that its size is much smaller. The sampling frame is the population that I will contact (Trochim, Donnelly, & Arora, 2015). My sampling frame will consist of 15 patients of various ages who have been diagnosed with a hospital-acquired infection or condition and are currently hospitalized.

Data Collection

The data collection in my project was qualitative, i.e. 15 patients from a local hospital who agreed to participate in the project were interviewed about their infections and conditions. The interviews were conducted as one-to-one conversations and were recorded to assure that the collected data was not altered by the researcher. The questions that were asked and answered encouraged patients to remember and describe their specific experiences (Glasper & Rees, 2016). Sample sizes are usually small for this type of data collection, so the 15 patients that agreed to participate in the project provided insightful information on the phenomenon (Glasper & Rees, 2016).

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As the non-probability sampling implies that the researcher is directly engaged with the phenomenon and people who experienced it, it is important to avoid any biases during the implementation of the project. Thus, it is necessary for the researcher to “adopt an open approach”; the researcher should not make any assumptions about the participants and the phenomenon, and should avoid any conclusions that are not confirmed and reaffirmed by the data analysis (Glasper & Rees, 2016, p. 79). To understand certain issues, it is advisable to conduct multiple interviews that will support or rebut the patients’ opinions on the matter. This approach allows the researcher examine the phenomenon from various angles and form an independent opinion.

Data Analysis

As the data collection was qualitative, during the data analysis qualitative approach was used. The aim of the qualitative analysis is to present the textual data in the form close to the original and draw logical explanations from this data (Pope & Mays, 2013). To analyze the collected texts, the researcher should seek for themes and categories that will be compared and re-analyzed later to allow the researcher develop a theory or a hypothesis (Pope & Mays, 2013). Successful interpretation of the data implies that the researcher will pay close attention to the context, words used by the participants to describe the phenomenon, and large conceptions behind the details.


Glasper, A., & Rees, C.V. (2016). Nursing and healthcare research at a glance. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Howlett, B., Rogo, E., & Shelton, T. G. (2013). Evidence based practice for health professionals. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Jacobsen, K. H. (2011). Introduction to health research methods. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.

Jewell, N. P. (2011). Statistics for epidemiology. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.

Pope, C., & Mays, N. (2013). Qualitative research in health care. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

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Trochim, W., Donnelly, J. P., & Arora, K. (2015). Research methods: The essential knowledge base. Ontario, Canada: Nelson Education.