Research uses a scientific process that generate new knowledge, external evidence, and research utilization. The two main study methods used in research are quantitative and qualitative. Quantitative methods use scientific methodology to find the right sample size, controls for potential errors during data collection, and statistical analysis of the data. Qualitative uses a smaller sample size with life experiences. Quality improvement (QI) uses a plan, do, study, act model, as is often used in healthcare to improve that organizations process, or outcomes for a specific population once a problem has been identified (Conner, 2014).
Evidence-based practice is essentially conscientious use of the most current and best evidence when making decisions about the patient’s care. Evidence-based practice is also a life-long problem-solving approach that incorporates a systemic search and critical appraisal, the use of internal evidence through assessments, outcomes, evidence-based improvements, evaluation, and consideration of the patient/family preferences and values. The difference between QI and EBP is QI relies heavily on external evidence and does not use a systematic approach for critical appraisal. Evidence-based QI uses a systemic search with critical appraisal using both internal and external evidence in making decisions regarding practice changes to improve clinical outcomes (Fineout-Overholt & Melnyk, 2018). The main difference between research and EBP, is EBP is that not about developing new knowledge or validating existing knowledge. EBP seeks to find and translate the best evidence into clinical practice (Conner, 2014).
Nurses should be interested and know the difference between research, evidence-based practice and quality improvement. Nurses make contributions towards the development of new knowledge, innovations, and improvements (Conner, 2014).