Healthcare and Medicine Reference
In-Depth Information
and the question that they represent. Cases are counted, measured, and
otherwise quantified and analyzed on the basis of numerical information.
Hypotheses and findings are confirmed or rejected this way.
More recently, qualitative research 40-42 is increasingly strong methodologi-
cally, focused and applied beyond social sciences to medicine, nursing, and
other health sciences. 43-46 It is based often on the study of single cases or
single specific “cases” as situations or settings. Its emphasis on “in-depth
understanding” generates hypotheses. It does not confirm them the way
quantitative research does. Qualitative research seeks out the “why,” not the
“how” on the basis of more or less structured information; a better insight
of the problem is in focus and it may and should generate new hypotheses
studied later by quantitative methods of ad hoc further generated data.
Developed even more recently, mixed methods research combines and
uses both quantitative and qualitative approaches. 47-50 Creswell summarized
them well. 47,49 Their uses in medicine may expand rapidly. 50
There are several models and ways to demonstrate a cause-effect
relationship. How We Look at Causes: Single or Multiple Sets,
Chains, Webs, Concept Maps
There are at least five main approaches to looking at causes in medicine
because health phenomena may have one or more causes and conse-
quences, interrelated or not:
1. Looking at health problems and their causes often starts with the idea
of a single cause-single consequence relationship :
Driving while impaired Traffic accident and injury
Smoking Lung cancer
However, a traffic injury may be caused not only by drinking, but also
by fatigue, stress, drug abuse, the driver's poorly controlled chronic or
acute morbidity, experience, road and vehicle condition, and other factors.
We are aware today that smoking is not the only cause of bron-
chogenic carcinoma: passive smoking, miners' exposure to radon gas,
asbestos, metals like arsenic, chromium, nickel, or iron oxide, other
industrial and environmental carcinogens, familial predisposition, pre-
disposing diseases like pulmonary fibrosis, chronic obstructive lung
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