Medical Practice and Reviews

  • Abbreviation: Med. Pract. Rev.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2596
  • DOI: 10.5897/MPR
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 44


Resolving the qualitative-quantitative debate in healthcare research

Turyahikayo Everest
  • Turyahikayo Everest
  • Uganda Management Institute, Kampala, Uganda
  • Google Scholar

  •  Accepted: 11 February 2014
  •  Published: 28 February 2014


This article was set out to examine the allegations labeled against qualitative research by quantitative researchers. The allegations were that: it is subjective, difficult to replicate in healthcare, and this amounts to little more than anecdote, personal impression or conjecture. In attempting to resolve the allegations, this article relied on extensive literature review and examined evidence that has been put forth in support of qualitative research approach in healthcare. The article also examined the benefits and pathologies of quantitative and qualitative approaches. It is revealed that although each of the two approaches has its own strengths and weaknesses, none can ably offer practical solutions to challenges of validity and reliability in healthcare research. To mitigate such challenges, the paper rests on the use of mixed methods/triangulation so as to neutralize pathologies inherent in each approach. It is recommended that the use of triangulation should be founded on the strong basis of pragmatism. Method integration should be done skillfully and cautiously, because validity and reliability of its findings may not be guaranteed due to its susceptibility to the ontological and epistemological positions of the researcher. The paper concludes that any attempt to resolve this debate creates even more discussions and finds this third paradigm inadequate in some research circumstances. This implies that the debate is far from over.
Key words: Qualitative research, quantitative research, healthcare research, pragmatism, paradigm.