Difference between Quantitative and Qualitative Research Question- PICO vs. SPIDER
Keywords:Expectations, qualitative studies, quantitative studies, research question, PICO, SPIDER
Purpose: The research question, an empirical component of research, is used for conceptualization, methodology selection, and patient recruitment when aiming to answer a complex phenomenon. PICO (patient, intervention, comparison, and outcome) is a commonly employed/used framework for formulating a research question in quantitative studies. The PICO framework does not capture all the components of a qualitative research question thus, PICO may not be a suitable framework. To describe difference between qualitative and quantitative research questions and what are the main components of these questions.
Methodology: Non-systematic review of qualitative and quantitative studies exploring expectations in preoperative sciatica and or chronic low back pain patients. We compared the research question between qualitative and quantitative studies, using SPIDER and PICO framework.
Findings: We reviewed five qualitative studies, and six quantitative studies that explored expectation in sciatica or chronic low back pain patients undergoing surgical or nonsurgical interventions. Qualitative studies differed from quantitative studies as the former do not test hypotheses, but instead generated them. Qualitative studies are used to explain complex processes such as patients’ perceptions, experiences, attitudes, and opinions. The PICO framework did not capture all the components of a qualitative research question thus, SPIDER should be preferred over the PICO framework.
Discussion: Understanding the difference in qualitative and quantitative research questions will be of particular importance to new researchers and students planning to conduct qualitative research.
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