Evidence-Based Education: Methods and Experiential Strategies Utilized in Qualitative Research Design and Analysis with PhD Nursing Students

Thursday, 16 July 2009: 11:10 AM

Bonnie A. Sturm, EdD, RN
Department of Behavioral Sciences, Community and Health Systems, Seton Hall University, College of Nursing, South Orange, NJ

Learning Objective 1: clarify several specific experiential strategies for teaching qualitative research design and analysis in Doctoral Nursing Education.

Learning Objective 2: identify how qualitative research competencies can increase nursing knowledge and perspectives in diverse educational settings and global health care contexts.


This paper identifies and describes the educational methods and strategies utilized during a two semester, PhD level, sequenced course on qualitative research design and analysis taught by the author between January and December 2008. It describes the general format of these two courses and also provides evidence of the nursing student experiences collected during that period, specifically focusing on the active and collaborative development of their skills.


The author has coded and conducted thematic analysis of analytic and reflective process memos compiled by PhD nursing students to shed light on the experience of students developing these research skills.  The educational strategies challenge the students to develop the multiple capabilities of a qualitative researcher and to increase their capacity for inductive, critical, and intuitive inquiry. Students engage with several data collection methods including: participant observation, interviews, transcriptions, emergent design decisions, and rigorous reflection on self and other (emic and etic) perspectives. They also practice analytic strategies and approaches for writing and disseminating qualitative findings.


The author provides an analysis of class participant narratives, which offers insight into the students’ experiential journey in developing these crucial skills.  In addition, suggestions for how these assignments could be modified to assist educators in different global locations are provided.


The qualitative traditions of ethnography and phenomenology are highlighted, in particular, as designs that enable the researcher to enhance knowledge and understanding of phenomena occurring in diverse cultural, social, political and historical contexts. From such a base, research can provide complex understandings of subtle and otherwise hidden factors that are often of high value in the formulation of program planning, health care initiatives and individual health care decisions among diverse populations.