The use of saturation in qualitative research

Can J Cardiovasc Nurs. 2012 Spring;22(2):37-46.
[Article in English, French]


Understanding qualitative research is an important component of cardiovascular nurses' practice and allows them to understand the experiences, stories, and perceptions of patients with cardiovascular conditions. In understanding qualitative research methods, it is essential that the cardiovascular nurse understands the process of saturation within qualitative methods. Saturation is a tool used for ensuring that adequate and quality data are collected to support the study. Saturation is frequently reported in qualitative research and may be the gold standard. However, the use of saturation within methods has varied. Hence, the purpose of this column is to provide insight for the cardiovascular nurse regarding the use of saturation by reviewing the recommendations for which qualitative research methods it is appropriate to use and how to know when saturation is achieved. In understanding saturation, the cardiovascular nurse can be a better consumer of qualitative research.

MeSH terms

  • Data Collection / methods*
  • Humans
  • Nursing Research / methods*
  • Qualitative Research*
  • Research Design*