I ran across a one page handout in PDF format that discussed the difference between research and quality improvement. It was written from the perspective of the IRB (Institutional Review Board) at UMKC. It’s a nice summary, although the topic is a bit more complex than a single page handout might imply. This is a good starting point for deciding what type of study you want to do.
UMKC School of Medicine Research Administration. Research or quality improvement, Septmeber 22, 2104. Available in PDF format at http://med.umkc.edu/docs/research/Research_vs_Quality_Improvement.pdf.