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Quantitative Research- Phases, Steps

Research ,like any discipline,has its own language.Some terms are used by qualitative and quantitative researchers,but the others are predominantly by one or the other group.
The phases and steps in the nursing research project gives an overview of the research process .

Major steps in quantitative research

Researchers move from the beginning of study (posing a question) to the end point (obtaining an answer) in a reasonably linear sequence of steps that are broadly similar across the studies.

In some studies,the steps may overlap,in others the certain steps are unnecessary. Still a general flow of study is typical in quantitative study.

Phase 1 : The conceptual phase

Early steps in a quantitative study typically have a strong conceptual or intellectual element.
These activities includes reading ,conceptualising, theorising and reviewing ideas with colleauges or advisers.
During this phase researchers call on such skills as creativity, deductive reasoning and a firm grounding in previous research on the topic of interest.

Step 1 : Formulating and delimiting the problem

Quatitative   researchers begin by identifying an interesting significant research problem and formulating research questions.
In devloping the research questions,nurse researchers must attend to substantive issues ,clinical issues ,methodological issues and ethical issues.

Step 2 :Reviewing of related literature

Quatitative research is conducted in the context of previous knowledge. To contribute new evidence ,quantitative researchers strive to understand existing evidence. A though literature review provides a foundation on which to base new evidence and usually is conducted before data are collected.

Step 3:Undertaking clinical field work

  • Spend time in clinical setting
  • Discussing problem with clinicians and administrators and observing current practices.
  • It provides perspectives on recent clinical trends ,current diagnostic procedures and relevant health care delivery models.

Step 4:Defining the conceptual framework

  • When the quantitative research is performed within the context of theoretical   framework ,the findings may have broader significance and utility.
  • The researchers should have a conceptual rationale and conceptual definitions of key variables.

Step 5:Formulating hypothesis

  • It a statement of researcher’s expectations and predictions about relationships among study variables.
  • The research questions identifies the study concepts and asks how the concepts might be related,a hypothesis is predicted answer.

Phase 2: The design and the Planning phase

  • The researchers make decision about the methods they will use to address the research question.
  • If the methods used to collect the data are flawed,then evidence from the study may have little value.

Step 6: Selecting a research design

  • It is a overall plan for obtaining the research questions. Many experimental or non experimental research designs are available
  • Researchers select a specific design and identify strategy to minimize the bias
  • Research design indicates how often the data will be collected,what type of comparisons will be made and where the study will take place.

Step 7:Developing protocol for intervention

  • In experimental research ,researchers actively intervene,which means that participants are exposed to different treatment conditions.
  • An intervention protocol for the study must be devloped,specifying exactly what the bio feedback treatment would entail and what alternative condition would be.
  • The goal of well articulated protocol is to have all people in each group treated in the same way.(in non- experimental research, this step is not necessary)

Step 8 :Identifying the population to be studied

  • A population is all the individuals or objects ,with common or defined characteristics.
  • Quantitative researchers must specify the population to be studied.

Step 9:Designing the sampling plan

  • In a quantitative study ,samples adequacy is assessed by its size and representativeness.
  • The sampling plan identifies how the sample will be selected and recruited and how many subjects will be there .

Step 10:Specifying methods to measure the research variables

Quantitative researchers must develop or borrow methods to measure the research variables accurately. The primary method of data collection are interview ,observation & biophysiological measurements.

Step 11:Developing methods to safeguard human and animal right

  • The study should be adhered to ethical principles .
  • Each aspect of the study needs to be scrutinized to determine whether the right of the participants have been adequately protected.
  • A formal presentation to an ethics committee is often required.

Step 12 :Reviewing and finalizing the research plan

  • Before collecting the data ,researchers often take steps to that plans will work   smoothly.
  • Researchers also have their research plan critiqued by peers ,consultants ,or other reviewers before implementing it.
  • Researchers taking financial support submit proposal to funding source,and reviewers usually suggest improvement.

Phase 3:The Empirical phase

  • The empirical phase is most time consuming part of investigation.
  • Data collection requires many weeks or months.

Step:13 Collecting the data

This step proceeds according to established plan.

The plan specifies when and where the data will be collected,procedure for describing the study to participants and methods for recording information.

Step 14:Preparing the data for analysis

  • Data collected in a quantitative study are rarely amenable to direct analysis-preliminary steps are needed.
  • One such step is coding (translating the verbal data into the numeric data).
  • Another preliminary steps involves entering the data into computer files for analysis.

Phase 4:The Analytic phase

  • It includes analysis and interpretation,which is the fourth major phase of a project.

Step 15:Analyzing the data

  • Quantitative researchers analyze their data through statistical analysis, which includes simple as well as complex procedures .
  • Use of computers has made easy the use of statistical data.

Step 16 :Interpreting the results

  • It involves making the sense of study results and examining their implications.
  • Researchers attempt to explain the findings in light of prior evidence theory, their own clinical experience and in the light of adequacy of methods, they used in the study.

Phase 5:The Dissemination phase

  • Researchers responsibilities are not completed until the study results are disseminated.

Step 17:Communicating the findings

  • It includes the preparation of research report that summarizes the findings.
  • Research report can take various forms-
  • Dissertation
  • Journal articles
  • Conference presentation

Step 18:Utilizing the finding in the practice

  • The concluding step of a high quality study is to plan for the use of evidence in practice setting.
  • The nurse researchers must include in their research report, how the research report can be utilized in the clinical settings.