Qualitative research needs to answer questions set by the researcher (there is no hypothesis). The intended aim(s) of the research should therefore be stated and the questions the research seeks to address should be identified. The problem which initiated the research should be clearly described early in the report (Ryan Wenger 1992). In order to evaluate the value of the research it is important for the hypothesis, aims and objectives to be clearly and unambiguously stated as too many questions may indicate that too much is being attempted (Parahoo and Reid 1988).
“Designing and producing research is a complex activity” (Brockopp
& Hastings-Tolsma, 2003, p. 59). A well-thought-out design allows for assurance that the evidence has practicality.
A thorough literature review allows for credibility of the study. The literature review provides the foundation for the study’s significance and relationship to practice.
The literature review is generally summarised in the introductory section or under a specific heading such as a review of the literature (Polit and Hungler 1997).
Reference to original sources is important as information can be taken out of context and used inappropriately therefore an abundance of secondary sources should be viewed with caution as they may not provide sufficient detail or possibly distort some aspects of the original research (Polit and Hungler 1997; Burns and Grove 1993).
The purpose of the literature review is to discuss what is known, identify gaps in knowledge, establish the significance of the study and situate the study within the current body of knowledge (Polit and Hungler 1997). This is supported by Burns and Grove (2001), who consider the primary purpose of reviewing the literature is to gain a broad background or understanding of the available information related to the problem.
The researcher should also critically appraise and use the literature to inform their thinking and methodology (Polit and Hungler 1997).
The search should consider how the major variables were explored previously by critiquing the strengths and limitations of the methods used eg design, sample and instrument (Burns and Grove 2001).
The literature Review is Therefore carried Out after The data Have been collected. The aim of this approach is to explore concepts embedded in the data, thereby allowing theory to be generated from the data rather than vice versa (Robinson,2002)
The title does not validate or invalidate the research (Parahoo and Reid 1988).
Ryan Wenger (1992) notes the authors brief biographies may be important sources of information about academic degrees, certification, position and place of employment, from which clinical and research expertise can sometimes be discerned.
Research papers can be significantly delayed before publication. It is important to determine whether the paper has been developed from a recent piece of work in order to assess its relevance to inform current practice (Polit and Hungler 1997).
Both Minichiello et al (2004) and Polit and Hungler (1997) state that before a study can progress, the researcher will usually clarify and define the variables under investigation and specify how the variable will be observed and measured in the actual research situation. This is known as an operational definition (Minichiello et al 2004; Polit and Hungler 1997)
It is important for the researcher to justify the use of the selected instrument. The rationale may clearly state the advantages and disadvantages of using one tool rather than another and the literature search should also have commented on the use of particular instruments in previous studies (Polit and Hungler 1997).
The reliability and validity needs to be considered. Reliability refers to the degree of consistency or accuracy with which an instrument