Nursing research is research that provides evidence used to support nursing practices. Nursing, as an evidence-based area of practice, has been developing since the time of Florence Nightingale to the present day, where many nurses now work as researchers based in universities as well as in the health care setting.
Nursing research falls largely into two areas:
- Quantitative research is based in the paradigm of logical positivism and is focused upon outcomes for clients that are measurable, generally using statistics. The dominant research method is the randomised controlled trial.
- Qualitative research is based in the paradigm of phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography and others, and examines the experience of those receiving or delivering the nursing care, focusing, in particular, on the meaning that it holds for the individual. The research methods most commonly used are interviews, case studies, focus groups and ethnography