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Nursing 360: Types of Research within Qualitative and Quantitative

Resources and tutorials for NURS 360

Components of Quantative (Empirical) Research Papers

  • Statement of purpose: what was studied and why 
  • Methodology: experimental group, control group, variables, test conditions, test subjects, etc.
  • Results: usually numeric and presented in tables or graphs, often with statistical analysis.
  • Conclusions drawn from the results 
  • References and sometimes footnotes 
  • Author credentials

Hint: The abstract (summary) of a research article is the first place to check for most of the components above.  The abstract appears both in a database record and at the beginning of the article.

Types of Quantitative Research

Four (4) main types of quantitative design: descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental, experimental

Types of Qualitative Research

Main Types of Qualitative Research


Case study

Attempts to shed light on a phenomenon by studying in-depth a single case example of the phenomenon.  The case may be an individual, an event, a group, or an institution.

Grounded theory

Attempts to explain the social and psychological processes that characterize an event or situation.


Describes the structures of experience as they present themselves to consciousness, without recourse to theory, deduction, or assumptions from other disciplines.


Focuses on the sociology of meaning through close field observation of sociocultural phenomena. Typically, the ethnographer focuses on a community.


Systematic collection and objective evaluation of data related to past occurrences in order to test hypotheses concerning causes, effects, or trends of these events that may help to explain present events and anticipate future events. (Gay, 1996)

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