Differentiating quality improvement from research

Appl Nurs Res. 2003 Feb;16(1):2-8. doi: 10.1053/apnr.2003.50000.


Monitoring of quality of care has always been an important part of health care. Self-regulation and external standards require care providers to furnish safe environments for the patient. Similarities in methods used by quality improvement (QI) projects and clinical research have created some confusion in differentiating the two practices. This article reviews the current literature and differences between QI and research. In addition, the article identifies and discusses four criteria: intervention, risk, audience, and data source, which allow investigators to differentiate between the two practices and follow the appropriate procedures for project review.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Humans
  • Nursing Research / methods*
  • Quality Assurance, Health Care / methods*
  • Research Design
  • United States