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Prof. Seid; Principles of Teaching Health Care - SPRING 2020: Types of Studies


Qualitative studies attempt to reveal deep meaning in social phenomena.

They are documentary in nature and marked by a social interaction with the subject.  


Observational Studies 


Focus Groups

Case Studies (Can be "longitudinal")

Phenomenological (observing "lived experiences" and sensations, study of judgment, perception & emotion of a group of people)

Ethnography (description of the culture of a group of people)

Materials Field notes, recordings, audio/video

Uses Inductive Reasoning 

Open-ended; Seeks exploration

Sometimes lacks a clear hypothesis

Less structured

More individualistic


Flexible, can change mid-stream depending on findings



Quantitative research methods focus on gathering numerical data to explain a particular phenomenon or existing hypothesis.


Controlled Animal or Biological Experiments and Tests (Control the environment and introduce something "new" - i.e. animal, biological, and laboratory studies. Animals and cells no substitute for humans!) 

Human Studies

Polls, Surveys, Questionnaires (Less controlled - people errors; ex. "Yale Study of New Haven Low Income Areas")

Cohort Studies (Collect data on wide selection of variables; time-consuming and expensive - e.g. "Harvard Nurses Study")

Randomized Trials - (Example, "The GEICO study". Again introduce a new variable; considered more controlled and accurate)

Sometimes studies uses Existing Raw Data and Manipulate it using Statistical Instruments (Example, - clinical data from the DHHS)

Materials Computer modeling software; spreadsheets; data sets; tables of raw data and figures to represent effects

Uses Deductive Reasoning

Structured with a set of variables 

Seeks to prove a supposed hypothesis

Larger, random selection of participants

Uses mathematical formulas to validate findings

To prevent bias, can be "randomized" and "Double blind" (researcher and participants don't know about each other or where variable has been introduced)

Findings can be generalized to greater populations and manipulated for other studies or purposes