Research methods qualitative and quantitative approaches pdf
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- Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
- Social research methods : qualitative and quantitative approaches
- Qualitative vs. quantitative research
By Dr. Saul McLeod , updated Jump to Quantitative Research Data.
Published on April 12, by Raimo Streefkerk. Revised on February 15, When collecting and analyzing data, quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative researc h deals with words and meanings.
Whereas quantitative methodologies test theory deductively from existing knowledge, through developing hypothesized relationships and proposed outcomes for study, qualitative researchers are guided by certain ideas, perspectives or hunches regarding the subject to be investigated Cormack, Qualitative research differs from qualitative approaches as it develops theory inductively. There is no explicit intention to count or quantify the findings, which are instead describes in the language employed during the research process Leach, A qualitative approach is used as a vehicle for studying the empirical world from the perspective of the subject, not the researcher Duffy, Benoliel expanded on this aspect and described qualitative research as 'modes of systematic enquiry concerned with understanding human beings and the nature of their transactions with themselves and with their understandings'.
The aim of qualitative research is to describe certain aspects of a phenomenon, with a view to explaining the subject if study Cormack, The methodology itself is also described as phenomenology Duffy, , or as a humanistic and idealistic approach Leach, , with itself its origins lying in the disciplines of history, philosophy, anthropology, sociology and psychology Cormack, This historical foundation, which is not that of the physical science domain, has been cited as one of the great weaknesses of qualitative research.
Historically the use of the true experiments has contributed greatly to the universal knowledge now acquired. The quantitative methods used produced legitimate Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 3 scientific answers, and as a result of this hard data, action was generated and changes took place Melia, The qualitative approaches produced soft data which were, and are still described by some, as being inadequate in providing answers and generating any changes.
One can argue that the use of the labels hard and soft data suggests in itself that analysis by numbers is of a superior quality to analysis by words Corner, For sampling, sampling procedures for each methodology are complex and must meet the criteria of the data collection strategy. Both research approaches require a sample to be identified which is representative of a larger population of people or objects.
Quantitative research demands random selection of the sample from the study population and the random assignment of the sample to the various study groups Duffy, Statistical sampling relies on the study sample to develop general laws which can be generalized to the larger population. The advantage of results obtained from random sampling is that the findings have an increased likelihood of being generalizable.
The disadvantage and a weakness of the quantitative approach, is that random selection is time-consuming, with the result that many studies use more easily obtained opportunistic sample Duffy, This inhibits the possibilities of generalization, especially if the sample is too small. Qualitative research, because of the in-depth nature of studies and the analysis of the data required, usually relates to a small, selective sample Cormack, A weakness of this can be suspicion that the researcher could have been influenced by a particular predisposition, affecting the generalizability of the small scale study Bryman, This suggests that qualitative research has low population validity.
However, the strength of this approach is seen when the sample is well defined, for then it can be generalized to a population at large Hinton, Raggucci's Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 4 ethnographic organizational study demonstrated the values of this approach in studying the benefits and practices of minority ethnic groups.
In quantitative research, the investigators maintain a detached, objective view in order to understand the facts Duffy, The use of some methods may require no direct contact with subjects at all, as in postal questionnaire surveys. It can be argued that even interview surveys require the researcher to have little, if any contact with respondents, especially if hired staff carry out most of all the interviews Bryman, The strength of such a detached approach is avoidance of researcher involvement, guarding against biasing the study and ensuring objectivity.
Such an approach was successfully used in the West Bershire-based perineal management trials of Sleep et al Foe example the midwifery study was indirectly controlled by the researchers whose main involvement, other than randomly allocating mothers to either the controlled or experimental episiotomy group, was to analyze the data, once collected. The findings of this study, through its objectivity, have contributed to knowledge within this field. Spencer argued that little is derived from such an indirect researcher-subject relationship especially in the health care setting.
His major criticism is that the detached approach treats the participants as though they are objects and, as such, places hospitals on par with car repair garages. Cormack, As with quantitative research, qualitative methodologies also have supposed strengths and weaknesses regarding the closeness of the relationship between researcher and respondent. Duffy argued that strength of such an interactive relationship is that the researcher obtains first-hand experience providing valuable meaningful data.
As the researcher and the subject spend more time together the data are more likely to be honest and valid Bryman, Supporting this argument is the study by Baruch which revealed that time and the subsequent relationship built between the researcher and the subjects was crucial for a genuine understanding of the dilemma. They claimed that the approach, because of the interactive method, far exceeded expected evaluation outcomes, by contributing to empowerment, and enhanced communication and clarification of roles among the partners involved in the project.
The weakness of such a close relationship is the likelihood that it may become pseudotherapeutic, complicating the research process and extending the responsibilities of the researcher Ramos, The possibility of becoming enmeshed with subjects could also lead to researchers having difficulty in separating their own experiences from those of their subjects Sandelowski, resulting in subjectivity Cormack, In its most extreme form this is referred to as 'going native', where the researcher loses awareness of being a researcher and becomes a participant Bryman, However, this may not be entirely negative in that it facilities a better understanding of the subject, as demonstrated by Oakley Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 6In term of methodology, the research processes used in the quantitative approach include descriptive, correlational, quasi-experimental and experimental research Cormack, The strength of such methods is that both true experiments and quasiexperiments provide sufficient information about the relationship between the variables under investigation to enable prediction and control over future outcomes.
This is achieved by the ability of the researcher to manipulate an independent variable in order to study its effects on the dependent variable. This strength can also be argued to be the weakness of the quantitative method, especially where organizational research is concerned. The qualitative approach includes methods such as grounded theory and ethnography research Denzin, The strength of the methodology employed lies in the fact that it has as holistic focus, allowing for flexibility and the attainment of a deeper, more valid understanding of the subject than could be achieved through a more rigid approach Duffy, It also allows subjects to raise issues and topics which the researcher might not have included in a structured research design, adding to the quality of data collected.
The study by Melia is a good example of these strengths, and its findings have contributed to the knowledge of employees' perspective on organization. Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 7 A weakness of qualitative methodology is the possible effect of the researchers' presence on the people they are studying. As previously highlighted, the relationship between the researcher and participants may actually distort findings. Particular to data, the data collected in quantitative research are, as mentioned, hard and numerical.
The strength of producing numbers as data is that this demonstrates an ordered system. Such an approach could be views as being necessary in an organization, for as Spencer suggested, preparing an off-duty rota for 5, employees needs quantitative methods and a computer. This argument is also supported by Kileen's study regarding new employees where there was a need to use numerical data to identify the organization resources needed, number of employees involved, and what difference they made to outcome.
The opposing argument , suggesting the invalidity of numerical finding, is that data not displaying significance are often neglected, or alternatively attention is centered on a minority if the respondents leaving the majority unexplored, in other words, there are deviant cases Cormack, Therefore, this distorts the evaluation of data.
In contrast, the soft data collected in qualitative research identify and account for any deviant cases Cormack, The rich data produced provide an illuminating picture of the subject, with great attention often given to pointing out intricate details.
Evidence of this is seen in the study by Melia where employees' comments are quoted, enabling the reader to fully understand the subject being investigated. The comparative weakness of qualitative data concerns the likelihood that some researchers can become overwhelmed by the data collected. They may become confused by their inability to limit the scope of the study, concentrating o a few manageable area Bryman, In this situation, the research can become poorly focused an ineffective.
Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 8For reliability, quantitative research is considered more reliable than qualitative investigation. This is because a quantitative approach aims to control or eliminate extraneous variables within the internal structure of the study, and the data produced can also be assessed by standardized testing Duffy, This quantitative strength can be seen in the comparative analysis of employees' and managers' perceptions about organizational activities.
However, one can question the reliability of quantitative research, especially when the data have been stripped from the natural context, or there have been random or accidental events which are assumed not to have happened Corner, The reliability of qualitative research is weakened by that fact that the process is under-standardized and relies on the insights and the abilities of the observer, thus making an assessment of reliability difficult Duffy, The study of Hind et al examined this issues and demonstrated that reliability could assessed by using independent experts to examine various aspects of the process of developing grounded theory.
However, one must question the feasibility of employing such a costly process, both in terms of time and money, to verify the reliability of qualitative study. For validity, although qualitative methodologies may have greater problems with reliability than quantitative methodologies, the position is reversed when the issue is validity.
The weakness in quantitative research is that the more tightly controlled the study, the more difficult it becomes to confirm that the research situation is like real life. The very components of scientific research that demand control of variables can therefore be argued as operating against external validity and subsequent generalizability Sandelowski, The field studies concerning perineal management by Sleep et al all contribute to the scientific understanding of this aspect of organization.
One reason that this can be claimed lies in the fact that the studies took place in a organizational environment, which increased validity.
The strength of qualitative research is proposed in the claim that there are fewer threats to external validity, because subjects are studies in their natural setting and encounter fewer controlling factors compared with quantitative research conditions Sandelowski, The researchers also become so immersed in the context and subjective states of the research subjects that they are able to give the assurance that the idea are representative of the subject being studied, as seen as in Oakley's antenatal organizational study.
The closeness of researchers also threatens the validity of the study if they become unable to maintain the distance required to describe or interpret experiences in a meaningful way, as discussed above Hinton, It is argued, however, that this is worth risking because of the high level of validity achieved by employing qualitative methodologies Duffy, According to ethical issues, the ethical considerations for both quantitative and qualitative research are the same safety and protection of human rights.
These are mainly achieved by using the process of informed consent. The utilization of informed consent is problematic in quantitative research, but practically impossible in qualitative methodologies in which the direction that the research takes is largely unknown Ramos, Munhall argued that informed consent can be achieved in qualitative research by re-negotiation when unexpected events occur, but one can argue in turn that this places greater responsibility on the researchers, as well as requiring them to possess a high level of skill, especially in negotiation.
Qualitative and Quantitative Methodologies 10The ethical weakness of quantitative research concerns the formulation of hypotheses. In organization, they are immense ethical considerations, especially for instance when it is explained that improvements will occur in employee ability when a certain approach is adopted, and the eventual findings of the research do not support this.
The qualitative approach proved valuable for this particular organizational study. In summary, for every strength, there appears to be a corresponding weakness in both quantitative and qualitative research.
It is this dilemma that has fuelled the debate over which approach id superior Duffy, , and which method should therefore be adopted for organizational research. Choosing just one methodology narrows a researcher's perspective, and deprives him or her of the benefits of building on the strengths inherent in a variety of research methodology Duffy,
Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches
Researchers often have issues choosing which research method to go with: quantitative or qualitative research methods? Many incorrectly think the two terms can be used interchangeably. Qualitative research is regarded as exploratory and is used to uncover trends in thoughts and opinions, while quantitative research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. At the end of this article, you will understand why you should consider using quantitative research instead of qualitative method in your research surveys. Qualitative research is a process of real-life inquiry that aims to understand social phenomena.
Learning Skills:. Subscribe to our FREE newsletter and start improving your life in just 5 minutes a day. Which you choose will depend on your research questions, your underlying philosophy of research, and your preferences and skills. Our pages Introduction to Research Methods and Designing Research set out some of the issues about the underlying philosophy. This page provides an introduction to the broad principles of qualitative and quantitative research methods, and the advantages and disadvantages of each in particular situations. Qualitative research seeks to answer questions about why and how people behave in the way that they do.
PDF | The paper will compare the characteristic of both kinds of research, Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method.
Social research methods : qualitative and quantitative approaches
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Researchers often have issues choosing which research method to go with: quantitative or qualitative research methods?
Qualitative vs. quantitative research
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call this approach “story telling.” Adelman et al. () in their seminal paper on refining case study.
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