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Qualitative and quantitative approaches in mental health nursing: moving the debate forward

Burnard, Philip and Hannigan, Ben 2000. Qualitative and quantitative approaches in mental health nursing: moving the debate forward. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing 7 (1) , pp. 1-6. 10.1046/j.1365-2850.2000.00255.x

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Abstract

In recent years, two distinct, and apparently opposing, positions have arisen in debates concerned with mental health nursing research, education and practice. Each of the two has its champions and ‘gurus’, and its detractors. Writers associated with the quantitative camp have argued in favour of: experimental research where the aims are the investigation of the outcomes of nursing care; multidisciplinary rather than unidisciplinary research; a physiological explanation for mental illness; clinical practice which is evidence based, and skills based education. Qualitative camp writers, on the other hand, have argued for: qualitative research to explore the experiences of illness, and of nursing; the preservation of nursing-only research; the relative irrelevance of physical explanations of mental illness, and holistic nursing practice in which clinical techniques are less important than interpersonal relationships. In this paper, we first review and criticise some key ideas associated with these two positions. In our subsequent analysis, we argue that, rather than differing at some fundamental level, the differences found between the two camps may be more a matter of emphasis. The possibilities of reconciliation and synthesis are, finally, presented and discussed.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Healthcare Sciences
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RT Nursing
Uncontrolled Keywords: nursing education; nursing practice; qualitative research; quantitative research
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN: 1365-2850
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 04:19
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/36796

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