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Questioning the use value of qualitative research findings

Lipscomb, Martin


Martin Lipscomb


In this paper the use value of qualitative research findings to nurses in practice is questioned. More precisely it is argued that, insofar as action follows belief then, in all but the rarest of cases, the beliefs that nurses in practice can justifiably derive from or form on the basis of qualitative research findings do not sanction action in the world and the assumption, apparently widely held, that qualitative research can as evidence productively inform practice collapses. If qualitative research does not have a substantive action guiding potential then, in consequence, three conclusions are permitted. First, regarding the requirement that nurses ground actions on evidence, regulators should redraft methodologically neutral or permissive guidelines to specify the sorts of research evidence that can serve this function. Second, qualitative methodologies should receive less prominence in nurse education programmes. Third, qualitative researchers should make it clear that their work cannot inform practice. Alternatively, if this claim is advanced the process by which this is to be achieved should be explicitly stated. © 2012 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.


Lipscomb, M. (2012). Questioning the use value of qualitative research findings. Nursing Philosophy, 13(2), 112-125.

Journal Article Type Article
Publication Date Apr 1, 2012
Journal Nursing Philosophy
Print ISSN 1466-7681
Electronic ISSN 1466-769X
Publisher Wiley
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 13
Issue 2
Pages 112-125
Keywords applied research, nursing research, qualitative research
Public URL
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