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 Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research (2 LMD)

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مُساهمةموضوع: Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research (2 LMD)   الخميس سبتمبر 03, 2009 6:44 am

Quantitative Research
Quantitative research is research involving the use of
structured questions where the response options have been predetermined
and a large number of respondents is involved.
By definition, measurement must be objective, quantitative and
statistically valid. Simply put, it’s about numbers, objective hard
data.
The sample size for a survey is calculated by statisticians using
formulas to determine how large a sample size will be needed from a
given population in order to achieve findings with an acceptable degree
of accuracy. Generally, researchers seek sample sizes which yield
findings with at least 95% confidence interval (which means that if you
repeat the survey 100 times, 95 times out of a hundred, you would get
the same response) and plus/minus 5 percentage points margin error.
Many surveys are designed to produce smaller margin of error.



Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research is collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data
by observing what people do and say. Whereas, quantitative research
refers to counts and measures of things, qualitative research refers to
the meanings, concepts, definitions, characteristics, metaphors,
symbols, and descriptions of things.
Qualitative research is much more subjective than quantitative
research and uses very different methods of collecting information,
mainly individual, in-depth interviews and focus groups. The nature of
this type of research is exploratory and open-ended. Small numbers of
people are interviewed in-depth and/or a relatively small number of
focus groups are conducted.
Participants are asked to respond to general questions and the
interviewer or group moderator probes and explores their responses to
identify and define people’s perceptions, opinions and feelings about
the topic or idea being discussed and to determine the degree of
agreement that exists in the group. The quality of the finding from
qualitative research is directly dependent upon the skills, experience
and sensitive of the interviewer or group moderator.
This type of research is often less costly than surveys and is
extremely effective in acquiring information about people’s
communications needs and their responses to and views about specific
communications.
Basically, quantitative research is objective; qualitative is
subjective. Quantitative research seeks explanatory laws; qualitative
research aims at in-depth description. Qualitative research measures
what it assumes to be a static reality in hopes of developing universal
laws. Qualitative research is an exploration of what is assumed to be a
dynamic reality. It does not claim that what is discovered in the
process is universal, and thus, replicable. Common differences usually
cited between these types of research include.


Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research
QuantitativeQualitative
ObjectiveSubjective
Research questions: How many? Strength of association?Research questions: What? Why?
"Hard" science"Soft" science
Literature review must be done early in studyLiterature review may be done as study progresses or afterwards
Test theoryDevelops theory
One reality: focus is concise and narrowMultiple realities: focus is complex and broad
Facts are value-free and unbiasedFacts are value-laden and biased
Reduction, control, precision
Discovery, description, understanding, shared interpretation
MeasurableInterpretive
Mechanistic: parts equal the wholeOrganismic: whole is greater than the parts
Report statistical analysis.
Basic element of analysis is numbers
Report rich narrative, individual; interpretation. Basic element of analysis is words/ideas.
Researcher is separateResearcher is part of process
SubjectsParticipants
Context freeContext dependent
HypothesisResearch questions
Reasoning is logistic and deductiveReasoning is dialectic and inductive
Establishes relationships, causationDescribes meaning, discovery
Uses instrumentsUses communications and observation
Strives for generalization
Generalizations leading to prediction, explanation, and understanding
Strives for uniqueness
Patterns and theories developed for understanding
Highly controlled setting: experimental setting (outcome oriented)Flexible approach: natural setting (process oriented)
Sample size: nSample size is not a concern; seeks "informal rich" sample
"Counts the beans"Provides information as to "which beans are worth counting"


In general, qualitative research generates rich, detailed and valid
(process) data that contribute to in-depth understanding of the
context. Quantitative research generates reliable population based and
gereralizable data and is well suited to establishing cause-and-effect
relationships.
The decision of whether to choose a quantitative or a qualitative
design is a philosophical question. Which methods to choose will depend
on the nature of the project, the type of information needed the
context of the study and the availability of recourses (time, money,
and human).
It is important to keep in mind that these are two different
philosophers, not necessarily polar opposites. In fact, elements of
both designs can be used together in mixed-methods studies. Combining
of qualitative and quantitative research is becoming more and more
common.
Every method is different line of sight directed toward the same
point, observing social and symbolic reality. The use of multiple lines
of sight is called triangulation.
It is a combination of two types of research. It is also called pluralistic research.
Advantages of combining both types of research include:

  1. research development (one approach is used to inform the other,
    such as using qualitative research to develop an instrument to be used
    in quantitative research)
  2. Increased validity (confirmation of results by means of different data sources)
  3. Complementarity (adding information, i.e. words to numbers and vice versa)
  4. Creating new lines of thinking by the emergence of fresh perspectives and contradictions.
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Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research (2 LMD)
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