The quantification of midwifery research: Limiting midwifery knowledge

Elizabeth Newnham, Barbara Katz Rothman

Research output: Contribution to journalComment/debate

7 Citations (Scopus)
3 Downloads (Pure)


As two academics researching in the area of maternal health, we are increasingly concerned with what we see as a positivist turn in midwifery research. In this paper, we examine this idea of the quantification of midwifery research, using as an example the current esteem given to the systematic literature review, and its creep into other methodologies. We argue that the current favor toward quantitative research and expertise in midwifery academia risks the future of midwifery research by the lack of equal development of qualitative experts, diluting qualitative research rigor within the profession, and limiting the kinds of questions asked. We identify the similarity between the current prominence of quantitative research and medical dominance in midwifery and maintain that it is of vital importance to the profession (research and practice) that the proper attention, contemplation, and merit are given to qualitative research methods.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)175-178
Number of pages4
Issue number2
Early online date13 Mar 2022
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • literature review
  • midwifery
  • qualitative research
  • quantitative research


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