Research can be scientific or non-scientific, quantitative or qualitative. Traditionally, only quantitative research has been regarded as scientific, being seen as systematic, objective, based on clearly defined hypotheses, examining cause and effect, seeking general laws, using statistical analysis when necessary and seeking to be reliable and valid. The chief experimental design related to health professions is the randomised controlled trial (RCT). Qualitative research tends to be exploratory, based on research questions rather than hypotheses, does not involve experiments and is less rigid.
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