Developing EBP Questions Requiring Qualitative and Quantitative Data


Evidence-based practice is an exercise that originated from the medical profession. It has however been implemented in other fields such as nursing and psychology. The scope of ‘evidence-based practice’ involves the application of research results in processes. It is used in medicine and nursing professions to ensure that services offered to patients are based on researched evidence. This paper seeks to develop questions that require qualitative and quantitative data. The paper will explore specific problems and develop foreground questions that can be answered by qualitative and quantitative research.

Developing a foreground question

Evidence-based practice can be used to investigate the relationship between health care features and factors that affect health care. To develop a good foreground question, the target population, possible countermeasures for the problem, possible results, and alternative research activities should be considered (Booth, 2005; Polit and Beck, 2008).

A clinical problem that can be answered by quantitative data


People’s health status depends on several factors that contribute to the ability to maintain healthy behavior as well as the ability to access and acquire health care in times of need. Poverty has been identified as a factor that affects people’s health. This is because people in ‘poverty-stricken’ areas may lack the financial capacity to afford healthy behavior and care. As a result, poverty is a problem in the nursing profession and requires evidence-based practice for a solution.

Establishing a relationship between people’s health standards and poverty levels is an example of a clinical problem that can be answered by quantitative data. This is because the relationship between the two variables as well as the scope of the problem falls under qualitative research (Chilisa and Preece, 2005; Jones, 2004). A suitable question for ‘evidence-based practice’ would be, ‘how significant is the relationship between poverty levels and health standards?’ (Schuiling and Likis, 2006).

A clinical problem that can be answered by qualitative data


Pain, as felt by patients within and outside healthcare facilities, is a problem facing healthcare personnel. To understand a patient’s condition, a clear evaluation of pain is necessary for proper diagnosis and recommendations for effective treatment. Evidence-based practice can therefore be used to understand the level of pain in patients for proper nursing and care.

Measuring the level of pain in patients is an example of a clinical problem that can be solved by qualitative research. Research to determine the existence of a relationship between the levels of pain felt by a patient and the condition of the patient can be instrumental in predicting the degree of attention and care that a given patient may require. The relationship can similarly be used to recommend tests and first aid treatment for patients. Pain is an aspect that cannot be measured directly through observation techniques. As a result, the qualitative approach establishes a way for its analysis. A suitable foreground question for research on the relationship between the level of pain and a patient’s condition could be, ‘how significant is the level of pain suffered by a patient related to the patient’s condition?’ (Stommel and Wills, 2004).


Evidence-based practice helps in determining appropriate approaches to solving clinical problems. Based on research, the practice follows a strategy in which a problem is identified, a foreground research question is formulated before qualitative, or quantitative research is conducted. The foreground questions form bases for research.


Booth, A. (2006). Clear and present questions: formulating questions for evidence based practice. Web.

Chilisa, B., and Preece, J. (2005). Research methods for adult educators in Africa. Cape Town, South Africa: Pearson South Africa

Jones, R. (2004). Oxford textbook of primary medical care, Volume 1. New York, NY: Oxford University Press

Polit, D., and Beck, C. (2008). Nursing research: generating and assessing evidence for nursing practice. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

Schuiling, K., and Likis, F. (2006). Women’s gynecologic health. Sudbury, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning

Stommel, M., and Wills, C. (2004). Clinical research: concepts and principles for advanced practice nurses. Philadelphia, PA: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins

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