Quantitative and qualitative methods relate to different approaches of research design. They are based on philosophical beliefs and the assumptions of universal laws. Quantitative research is based on the belief that information lies outside the personal views of the individual, it accentuates accuracy and produces numerical value (Rees 1997). I believe it is important when using quantitative approaches to recognise some numerical findings may be down to probability and not universal laws. This is important in midwifery care in understanding that although quantitative findings indicate an assumption, every pregnancy and birth is unique. Statistics may say that a particular treatment is best but not all women will agree just the majority. Fraser and Copper (2009) state that the quantitative method can be used in midwifery care in a non biased way by not reflecting on personal experiences and just as statistics. I however believe that the use of these statistics may make midwives act in a more biased way and disregard woman as individuals and more like a population.
Qualitative research believes knowledge is produced by our subjective experiences and that we need to look at things from our respondents’ point of view (Rees 1997). In this research method we must consider the Hawthorne effect and how the results may vary due to participants be aware of the research taking place (Cluett and Bluff 2006). It has been suggested that qualitative research is ‘soft’ (Fraser and Cooper 2009) I however believe this method is more appropriate in midwifery care, as it shows a deeper understanding of how distinctive and individual the childbearing process and takes this into account.
I am now going to critique the paper Psychological factors that impact on women’s experiences of first-time motherhood: a qualitative study of the transition in relation to research.
The title of a research paper must reveal what the study regards in a clear and concise manner (Cluett and Bluff 2006). I feel that the authors have been precise in the words chosen. It makes clear indications that this paper is concentrating on the psychological factors relating to childbirth and not physiological. The title is also specific on the fact the study is on first time mothers and not multigravidas. Clear use of words is extremely important in research studies, this is to ensure the study is found when searching databases; words are taken from the title and abstract. Inappropriate tittles could cause articles to be unnecessarily missed. I feel the authors have done this in a suitable manner.
Authors of a research paper should have the necessary experiences and skills to accomplish the focus of the study (Cluett and Bluff 2006). Ruth Darvill is a fellow researcher; Heather Skirton is a qualified midwife, registered general nurse and holds a PhD, Paul Farrand also holds a PhD and is a senior lecturer, and his expertise consist of psychology. These are the authors of the study I have already indicated. This gives good knowledge of both the research process as well as the childbearing process; along with the psychological aspect of the study. It has not been indicated why the study was taken, this may suggest it may have been purely for personal interest or for a Masters Project. The different expertise of each researcher assists in stopping bias or hidden agendas. It is important when considering the reliability of a study to consider how funding has been achieved (Cluett and Bluff 2006). The funding has not been mentioned in this paper, this again may signify the paper being created for a Masters Project or due to personal interest. Funding is very important when critiquing a research paper, this is due to possible implications legally or interpreting the results in a way useful. For example a paper regarding smoking in pregnancy funded by a tobacco company, may state smoking is not harmful to the unborn. Reliable evidence has disproved this; however a tobacco company will gain more money by mothers continuing to smoke while pregnant.