Approaches to Research Methodology

  • Philip Burnard
  • Paul Morrison


  • To list the distinguishing characteristics between quantitative and qualitative methods of research;

  • To discriminate between descriptive and experimental research;

  • To identify the problems associated with subjectivity and objectivity;

  • To help you consider which approach or series of approaches may best help you in your enquiry.


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Further Readings

  1. Bryman, A. (ed.) (1988) Doing Research in Organisations, Routledge, London.Google Scholar
  2. Cannon, C. (1989) ‘Social research in stressful settings: difficulties for the sociologist studying the treatment of breast cancer’, Sociology of Health and Illness, 11 (1) 62–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Cormack, B.F.S. (ed.) (1984) The Research Process in Nursing, Blackwell, Oxford.Google Scholar
  4. Dixon, B.R., Bouma, G.D. and Atkinson, G.B.J. (1987) A Handbook of Social Science Research: A Comprehensive and Practical Guide for Students, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  5. Field, P.A. and Morse, J.M. (1985) Nursing Research: The Application of Qualitative Approaches, Croom Helm, London.Google Scholar
  6. Gilbert, N. (ed.) (1993) Researching Social Life, Sage, London.Google Scholar
  7. Morgan, G. and Smircich, L. (1980) ‘The Case for Qualitative Research’, Academy of Management Review, 5 (4) 491–500.Google Scholar
  8. Reason, P. and Rowan, J. (1981) Human Inquiry: A Sourcebook of New Paradigm Research, Wiley, Chichester, ch 1 and 2.Google Scholar
  9. Skevington, S. (ed.) (1984) Understanding Nurses: The Social Psychology of Nursing, Wiley, Chichester.Google Scholar
  10. Bowling, A. (1991) Measuring Health: A Review of Quality of Life Measurement Scales, Oxford University Press, Oxford.Google Scholar
  11. McLaughlin, F.E. and Marascuilo, L.A. (1990) Advanced Nursing and Health Care Research: Quantification Approaches, W.B. Saunders, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  12. Reid, N. and Boor, J. R.P. (1987) Research Methods and Statistics in Health Care, Edward Arnold, Sevenoaks.Google Scholar
  13. Giorgi, A. (1970) Psychology as a Human Science: A Phenomenologically Based Approach, Harper & Row, New York.Google Scholar
  14. Morse, J.M. (ed.) (1989) Qualitative Nursing Research: A Contemporary Dialogue, Sage, London.Google Scholar
  15. Bogdan, R., Brown, M.A. and Foster, S.B. (1982) ‘Be honest but not cruel: staff/patient communication on a neonatal unit’, Human Organisation, 41 (1) 6–16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Burnard, P. and Morrison, P. (1988) ‘Nurses’ perceptions of their interpersonal skills: a descriptive study using six category intervention analysis’, Nurse Education Today, 8, 266–72.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Haywood, J. (1975) Information, A Prescription Against Pain, RCN, London.Google Scholar
  18. Luker, K.A. (1982) Evaluating Health Visiting Practice, RCN, London.Google Scholar
  19. Dumas, R. (1987) ‘Clinical trials in nursing’, Recent Advances in Nursing, 17, 108–25.Google Scholar
  20. Hicks, C.M. (1990) Research and Statistics: A Practical Introduction for Nurses, Prentice-Hall, New York.Google Scholar
  21. Wilson-Barnett, J. (1991) ‘The experiment: is it worthwhile?’, International Journal of Nursing Studies, 28 (1) 77–87.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. LeCompte, M.D. and Goetz, J.P. (1982) ‘Problems of reliability and validity in ethnographic research’, Review of Educational Research, 52 (1) 31–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Bryman, A. (1988) Quantity and Quality in Social Research, Unwin Hyman, London.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Polit, D.F. and Hungler, B.P. (1989) Essentials of Nursing Research: Methods, Appraisal and Utilization, 2nd edn, Lippincott, Philadelphia.Google Scholar
  25. Roberts, C.A. and Burke, S.O. (1989) Nursing Research: A Quantitative and Qualitative Approach, Jones & Bartlett, Boston.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Philip Burnard and Paul Morrison 1994

Authors and Affiliations

  • Philip Burnard
    • 1
  • Paul Morrison
    • 1
  1. 1.University of Wales College of MedicineCardiffUK

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