Qualitative and quantitative designs are methodological approaches used in various research studies. Precisely, qualitative methods determine the depth of understanding of a phenomenon, and on the other hand, quantitative methods are used to determine the level of occurrence of an event numerically. Morbidity is defined as a person’s level of health and well-being, of which either of the designs can be used to determine the physical or physiological state that is considered to be outside the normal-wellbeing (Crimmins & Beltrán, 2010). While morbidity measures a population’s state of being unhealthy, mortality quantifies the impact of death on society by recording the number of occurring deaths. Therefore, qualitative and quantitative methods can be used in public health to determine both morbidity and mortality rates.
Qualitative and Quantitative Methods
Qualitative methods are used to describe and explain variations using textual data. The procedures are non-statistical, and their validity depends on the purposeful selection of participants. Notably, the methods can provide a means to understand public health challenges in depth through the provision of contextual information about beliefs, opinions, norms, and behaviors of a population. On the other hand, quantitative methods are used in public health to determine the occurrence of activity and examine the relationship among variables. The reliability of quantitative data depends on the sample size selected. Examples of qualitative methods are interviews, focus groups, and diary entries, and for quantitative methods, they include surveys and questionnaires, among others.
- Qualitative Methods
Qualitative data collection methods are personalized. Particularly, interviews are a method used to collect qualitative data to explore the views, beliefs, and perceptions of individuals on a specific health issue. The technique is used where little is known about the subject of the study. Another example of qualitative methods is a focus group, which is used to collect similar data from many participants at the same time (Woolley, Edwards & Glazebrook, 2018). Markedly, focus groups are used when the researcher wants to understand how a particular health issue is affecting a large population. Also, diary entries are used in behavioral investigations to determine the occurrence and frequency of a health condition (Woolley et al., 2018). Practitioners use diary entries to help clients document their symptoms and the factors that precipitate them to modify specific behavior patterns, such as nutrition, sleep apnea, and adherence to a medication routine. Finally, a direct observation routine is used to collect hidden information. With this observation, health conditions, patient’s responses, and physical aspects can be documented without the permission of the participants and their ability to respond to questions.
- Quantitative Methods
Quantitative data collection methods obtain information from a lot of participants simultaneously. Specifically, surveys are used to collect data regarding the state of the health and well-being of patients. Markedly, the method is used to understand illness factors, opinions, and risk factors associated with a group’s health. In addition, a questionnaire can be used to collect confidential data from participants (Woolley et al., 2018). Notably, the poll is a written document that contains a structured series of questions with a highly standardized response for easy analysis and comparison of individual populations. Moreover, a biological assessment is a quantitative method used to evaluate the condition of a waterbody through a sampling of the inhabiting species. It is also used to assess the situation of an area of interest by surveying the structure and the function of a specific community’s resident biodata. Notably, quantitative measurement uses numerical data that represents the degree of attributes that are expressed in numerical quantities.
The Appropriate Method in Studying Infectious Disease Outbreak
An infectious disease outbreak affects a large area without any discrimination, making it difficult to trace using methods within minimal reach. Therefore, the best qualitative way to use in a community is focus groups, while the most appropriate quantitative approach is conducting surveys. Focus groups have been used to develop a systemic standardized response system to unfolding threats of Ebola, an infectious disease in 2014-2015 (Geldsetzer, 2020). In infectious disease research, surveys are used to understand trends in prevention, detection, diagnosis, and probable treatment procedures. Notably, a cross-sectional study was used in 2020 to assess people’s perceptions during an infectious COVID-19 outbreak. According to the survey, people’s opinions and attitudes about the pandemic outbreak helped to devise prevention and detection program interventions (Geldsetzer, 2020). Therefore, by using surveys and focus groups as quantitative and qualitative methods, respectively, a control intervention can be implemented for any infectious disease outbreak.
Morbidity and Mortality Trends
The state of Texas has had prevalent occurrences of both the mortality and morbidity trends affecting its citizens. Notably, the primary mortality trends in Texas include maternal and infant mortality rates, while morbidity trends include low mental health, high prevalence of diabetes, and obesity. The leading causes of mortality in the State of Texas are heart disease and cancer. Texas public health issues include infectious and chronic diseases, accidents and injuries, maternal and child health, environmental health, and substance abuse (“Stats of the state of Texas,” 2018). Also, the maternal mortality rate of Texas is 34.2 per 100,000 live births, a trend that has been increasing since 2016, and the infant mortality rate is 5.9 per 1000 live births. Additionally, 12.6 % of Texas’ adults are living with diabetes, a 6% increase from 2016, while drug-related deaths have been on the rise since 2007, where there have been 10.3 deaths per 100,000 people in 2019. The high mortality and morbidity trends are contributed by the high level of people living with diabetes, and a significant percentage of uninsured people in Texas (“Stats of the state of Texas,” 2018). Therefore, to maintain the population health and reduce the death cases in the State of Texas, there should be established community health programs to educate the masses regarding healthy lifestyles and the importance of health insurance.
Qualitative and quantitative methods are essential in exploring the community’s population health as they inform the specific methodology to use in a study aimed at improving a population’s health. Qualitative methods are used to collect unstructured and non-numerical data used for an in-depth understanding of health issues. In contrast, quantitative methods are used to collect structured data to achieve the level of occurrence of an activity. Texas population is affected by morbidity trends such as low mental health, high prevalence of diabetes, and obesity. Similarly, maternal mortality and infant mortality affects the health of the population with heart disease and cancer being the major causes of such trends.
Crimmins, E. M., & Beltran-Sanchez, H. (2010). Mortality and morbidity trends: Is there compression of morbidity? The Journals of Gerontology Series B: Psychological Sciences and Social Sciences, 66B(1), 75-86. https://doi.org/10.1093/geronb/gbq088
Geldsetzer, P. (2020). Use of rapid online surveys to assess people’s perceptions during infectious disease outbreaks: A cross-sectional survey on COVID-19. Journal of Medical Internet Research, 22(4), e18790. https://doi.org/10.2196/18790
Stats of the state of Texas. (2018, April 9). Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/nchs/pressroom/states/texas/texas.htm
Woolley, K., Edwards, K. L., & Glazebrook, C. (2018). Focus group or individual interviews for exploring children’s health behavior: An example of physical activity. Advances in Pediatric Research, 05(02). https://doi.org/10.24105/apr.2018.5.11