Essay nursing research
Demystifying nursing research terminology. Part 1
Cite this article as: Welford C, Murphy K, Casey D (2011) Demystifying nursing research terminology. Part 1.
Nurse Researcher. 18, 4, 38-43.
Received February 12 2010; accepted October 29 2010
Correspondence to Claire Welford
Email: claire.welford@ nuigalway.ie Claire Welford RGN, Dip NS,
BNS Hons, MSc, PGC TLHE is
HRB nursing research fellow
Aim This article aims to provide clear explanations of the research approaches available for nursing research.
Dympna Casey RGH, BA, MA,
PhD is senior lecturer
Background There are numerous research approaches available to the nurse researcher. There is also some ambiguity in the literature in …show more content…
Olson (2006) also described four paradigms: positivism, post-positivism, critical social theory and interpretivism. For this article, we decided to describe these paradigms using Crotty’s (1998) framework, which categorises a paradigm according to its theoretical perspective, its ontology, its epistemology, its methodology and its method:
■■ The theoretical perspective or philosophical stance lies behind the methodology in research questions and can include positivism, post-positivism, interpretivism, critical theory and others. ■■ The ontology challenges the researcher to consider what world they believe in.
■■ The epistemology is concerned with the theory of knowledge embedded in the theoretical perspective. It informs the research and can include objectivism, subjectivism and others.
■■ The methodology is the strategy or plan of action that links methods to outcomes and governs the choice of methods. Methods are the techniques and procedures and might include questionnaires, interviews and focus groups.
Using Crotty’s (1998) framework, we developed a summary table (Table 1) to demonstrate how these categories are linked. It is not an exhaustive list of categories but an example of the more commonly adopted approaches so serves as an ‘at a glance’ summary. The most frequently adopted paradigms will now be discussed.
Positivists adopt an ontology that assumes