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Finding Qualitative & Quantitative Research Articles

For Students in BS Respiratory Care Program
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Stella Beratlis
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Quantitative Research: Introduction

What Is Quantitative Research? 

Quantitative Studies are " scientific investigations in which numbers are used to measure variables such as characteristics, concepts, or things" (CINAHL). Quantitative research is expressed in numbers and graphs. It is used to test or confirm theories and assumptions. This type of research can be used to establish generalizable facts about a topic.

This type of research approach is much more common than the qualitative approach in scientific and medical research. Clues about the type of study you are looking at can potentially be found in the abstract, but the main sections you will want to look at will be the methods and the results sections.


Sometimes, you will be fortunate enough to find the word quantitative in the abstract or in the methods section, but most likely you will need to scan the abstract and methods section for words that you know are associated with the quantitative approach to research. Some examples are:

  • clinical trial
  • case-control study
  • cohort studies
  • randomized controlled trials
  • experimental
  • hypothesis
  • structured questionnaire or survey with closed-ended questions
  • statistical
  • observations recorded as numbers.


Quantitative data will be expressed as numbers and will be associated with a scale measure. Natural language description will not be used to express quantitative data.

Qualitative Research: Introduction

What Is Qualitative Research? 

"Qualitative research is a process of naturalistic inquiry that seeks an in-depth understanding of social phenomena within their natural setting. It focuses on the "why" rather than the "what" of social phenomena and relies on the direct experiences of human beings as meaning-making agents in their every day lives. Rather than by logical and statistical procedures, qualitative researchers use multiple systems of inquiry for the study of human phenomena including biography, case study, historical analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory, and phenomenology."

University of Utah College of Nursing, (n.d.). What is qualitative research? [Guide] Retrieved from 

In Qualitative Research, researchers are not coming to the research question with any prior hypotheses; instead, this type of research is inductive and works from the ground up to make discoveries. 

Mixed Methods

You will find that some studies indicate that they are both qualitative and quantitative. This is a mixed methods approach to research. You should check with your instructor to see if a mixed methods article will be acceptable for your assignment/