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Questioning the use value of qualitative research findings

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Abstract:

Abstract

In this paper the use value of qualitative research findings to nurses in practice is questioned. More precisely it is argued that, insofar as action follows belief then, in all but the rarest of cases, the beliefs that nurses in practice can justifiably derive from or form on the basis of qualitative research findings do not sanction action in the world and the assumption, apparently widely held, that qualitative research can as evidence productively inform practice collapses. If qualitative research does not have a substantive action guiding potential then, in consequence, three conclusions are permitted. First, regarding the requirement that nurses ground actions on evidence, regulators should redraft methodologically neutral or permissive guidelines to specify the sorts of research evidence that can serve this function. Second, qualitative methodologies should receive less prominence in nurse education programmes. Third, qualitative researchers should make it clear that their work cannot inform practice. Alternatively, if this claim is advanced the process by which this is to be achieved should be explicitly stated.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1466-769X.2011.00514.x

Affiliations: Senior Lecturer, Department of Nursing and Midwifery, Faculty of Health and Social Care, University of the West of England, Gloucester, UK

Publication date: 2012-04-01

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