Trends in nursing and midwifery research and the need for change in complementary therapy research

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Biley, Francis ; Freshwater, Dawn (1999)

In recent years there has been a change in nursing and midwifery research. Whilst many of the subjects being studied remain the same, nurses and midwives have started to employ a range of data collection methods that are relatively new to the profession. Predominantly quantitative research, which concentrates on reduction, objectivity, manipulation, categorization, passivity, control, prediction, causality and generalizability (Munhall & Oiler 1986), is starting to be replaced by other approaches perhaps more congruent with nursing, midwifery and caring. As Moody (1990) stated, ‘the 1980s ushered in an array of diverse, sophisticated research methods…’ with other authors adding that ‘nursing is just beginning to authenticate new territory that incorporates a plurality of methods’ (Nagle & Mitchell 1991). The following is an exploration of the recent apparent shift away from a focus on quantitative research in nursing and midwifery towards the use of qualitative methods which emphasize a greater degree of individuality, humanism, participation and interaction. It is suggested that the traditional quantitative research paradigm still exists in the field of complementary therapy research and that the shift that has taken place in nursing and midwifery research needs to be considered more seriously in the field of research in complementary therapies.\ud
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