A Critical Analysis of a Qualitative Study

Analysis of Qualitative Study          

Qualitative study, based on philosophy and human sciences, has developed knowledge and provided evidence in the practice of nursing. It deals with giving information on human response to current and future health issues as well as response to natural inquiries (Polit & Beck, 2008). Natural inquiry happens in the field and deals with the complexness of humans through direct exploration by the researcher. Qualitative study therefore promotes understanding through investigating on the why’s and how’s of health related issues.

Problem Statement

Problem statement explains the reason and the basis for carrying out qualitative study. If a nurse wants to investigate the eating habits of cardiac patients it is because she or he believes eating habits not just old age are a major contributing factor to cardiac illness (Polit & Beck, 2008).

Study purpose

This ensures that the main aim of the research is outlined. It states if the research is meant to understand, describe, develop, or discover the main focus of the study in the unit of analysis. Doing this helps readers determine if the topic under study is relevant to them or not and also what to expect from the given report. It also keeps the researcher focused on the study.

Research questions

Devising research questions is a way of uncovering required information. Statistical experts recommend use of one general question to guide the study and sub-questions which are more detailed (Polit & Beck, 2008).In this case a nurse can have the general question as, “What is the diet of cardiac patients?” The subsequent questions should be more specific and acquire a lot of information from cardiac patients.


Literature review

It describes research by providing some background information on the topic of discussion. There is always a background interest that any researcher brings to research. It can be personal history, personal ethics, political motivation or professional orientation to research that particular topic (Polit & Beck, 2008).Literature review should therefore provide relevant previous information like analysis on the same topic by past researchers. This enables researchers identify gapsregarding topic of interest hence emphasizing importance of research on the topic.

Study designs

There are numerous study designs and researcher has to decide how appropriate they are for research questions. In nursing and medicine research designs are based ethical principles such as beneficence, justice and respect for people and communities. In health science, they include ethnography, phenomenology, symbolic interaction and grounded theory.


Ethnography involves description and interpretation of cultural groups through observing their behavior, custom, and way of life. It involves doing fieldwork as research process by focusing on the culture of respondents. Ethnographer is the instrument of research and collects information through direct observation, participant observation, and unstructured interviews. These methods give the researcher an outsider’s and insider’s perspective on the research topic.


Describe thephenomenon of life experience and assumes that life experiences are important. It is done through interviews, written anecdotes, poetry and therefore requires a researcher to go into a respondent’s world. Therefore helps nurses understand the world of medicine (Polit & Beck, 2008).

Grounded theory

Qualitative research is naturally inductive therefore grounded theory focuses on theory construction and verification. This process gives a researcher up-close and personal interaction with real world issues that affect the group under study. Researcher identifies major variable, explains what happens then comes up with a theory. Therefore theory identification occurs before literature review. Researchers use interviews, constant comparison, focus groups, and participant observation in this design.

Theoretical frameworks

Researcher carries out study on a particular topic because there is some information regarding the topic under study that he or she has. Therefore this theoretical framework that a researcher has should be stated.

Data Collection methods

Characteristics of qualitative data and study designs in human health determine what data collection method is suitable for qualitative study. These methods are categorized into obtrusive and unobtrusive (Polit&Beck, 2008). Obtrusive involve participant observation, focus group discussions, in-depth and semi-structured interviews, and participatory action research among others. Unobtrusive comprise simple observation, auto-ethnography, written documents and text analysis. However, participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups are most common methods of data collection.

Sampling methods

Qualitative research in the field of medicine is sampled through purposive, quota, and snowball techniques. In purposive sampling, sample sizes depend on resources, time and mostly objective of the study. Quota sampling requires researchers to choose the appropriate human characteristics to consider during the study. Snowball sampling is characterized by respondents who have undergone a research process referring the researcher to other study related-respondents.

Data analysis

Data analysis process involves organization and preparation of data, trying to comprehend all data through reading it, and coding. Describe settings and categories as well as identify themes to be able to interpret qualitative research data (Polit & Beck, 2008). Methods used in data analysis in nursing include interpretive techniques, coding, recursive abstraction and content analysis.


Qualitative study helps understand people’s attitudes, behavior, value systems, concerns, aspirations and culture. It betters comprehension of phenomenon, explore sensitive topics and cultural experiences, give in-depth information and voice the unheard. Qualitative study has completely changed the perception of nurses about health issues. They have become efficient at collecting, sampling and analyzing data through qualitative research.




Polit H. & Beck, C.T. (2008).Nursing Research (8th Ed.). New Delhi: Williams and Wilkins.


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