U1-68 -Compare And Contrast The Characteristics Of Quantitative And Qualitative Research, Addressing The Philosophical Assumptions Of Both. Based On Your Review Of The Assigned Readings, Identify And Describe What You Believe To Be Meaningful About The Qu
Unit 1 Discussion- Qualitative and Quantitative Research Design For this discussion, compare and contrast the characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research, addressing the philosophical assumptions of both. Based on your review of the assigned readings, identify and describe what you believe to be meaningful about the qualitative research design and methodology.
The Nature of Qualitative Research
This unit addresses some fundamentals of research, including the following:
You will begin the discussion with methodology, which “refers to the way in which we approach problems, attempt to solve problems, gain understanding, and seek answers” (Taylor & Bogdan, 1998, p. 3). The type of questions we are attempting to develop answers to and topics we are attempting to gain an understanding of will dictate the research methodology that we use.
According to Creswell (2003):
A quantitative approach is one in which the investigator primarily uses positivistic claims for developing knowledge (that is, cause and effect thinking, reduction to specific variables and hypotheses and questions, use of measurement and observation, and the test of theories), employs strategies of inquiry such as experiments and surveys, and collects data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data. (p. 18)
The goal of quantitative research is to support or disprove hypotheses. Quantitative research is aimed at verification.
Creswell (2003) describes qualitative research as follows:
This is an inquiry process of understanding based on a distinct methodological tradition of inquiry that explores a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reports detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting. Taylor and Bogdan (1998) note that “qualitative methodology refers in the broadest sense to research that produces descriptive data—people’s own written or spoken words and observable behavior” (p. 7).
The goal of qualitative research is to gain an understanding of the experiences of the individuals who participate in the research study. Qualitative research is aimed at discovery.
Qualitative methodology consists of the methods and procedures used when conducting research using a qualitative research approach.
Two major theoretical perspectives have dominated psychological research:
The philosophical basis of quantitative social research, positivism seeks the facts and causes of social phenomena apart from the subjective states of individuals.
The philosophical basis of qualitative social research, naturalism—which is also known as phenomenology and interpretivism—is committed to examining social phenomena from the participant’s perspective to gain an understanding of the participant’s experience. Naturalism or phenomenology or interpretivism is the philosophical basis of qualitative social research.
Philosophical Issues Underlying Quantitative and Qualitative Paradigms
Positivist (Quantitative) Positivists believe the following:
Ontology (the nature of reality): There is a single reality.
Epistemology (the relationship of the knower to the known): The knower and the known are independent.
Axiology (the role of values in inquiry): Inquiry is value-free.
Generalizations: Time- and context-free generalizations are possible.
Causal linkages: There are real causes that are temporally precedent to or simultaneous with effects.
Deductive logic: There should be an emphasis on arguing from the general to the particular, or an emphasis on a priori hypothesis (or theory). (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998, p. 7) Naturalist or Phenomenological or Interpretivist (Qualitative) Naturalists believe the following:
Ontology (the nature of reality): There are multiple constructed realities.
Epistemology (the relationship of the knower to the known): The knower and the known are inseparable.
Axiology (the role of values in inquiry): Inquiry is value-bound.
Generalizations: Time- and context-free generalizations are not possible.
Causal linkages: It is impossible to distinguish causes from effects.
Inductive logic: There should be an emphasis on arguing from the particular to the general, or an emphasis on grounded theory. (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998, p. 10)
Two major approaches help us to make an appropriate selection between quantitative and qualitative methodologies:
The deductive approach starts with theories and the aim of the research is to prove or disprove the hypothesis.
The inductive approach starts with fieldwork, naturalistic inquiry, and gathering qualitative data, all of which is aimed at discovery and generating theory through thematic analysis.
Commonalities of Qualitative Research Methods
Recognizing the value of qualitative designs and methodologies, studies of human experiences that are not approachable through quantitative approaches.
Focusing on the wholeness of experience rather than solely on its objects or parts.
Searching for meanings and essences of experience rather than measurements and explanations.
Obtaining descriptions of experience through first-person accounts in informal and formal conversations and interviews.
Regarding the data of experience as imperative in understanding human behavior and as evidence of scientific investigation.
Formulating questions and problems that reflect the interest, involvement, and personal commitment of the researcher.
Viewing experience and behavior as an integrated and inseparable relationship of subject and object and of parts and whole. (Moustakas, 1994, p. 21)
As you can see, this unit introduces important concepts in qualitative research and qualitative methodology. For those of you who have been exposed primarily to quantitative research and quantitative methodologies, you will be expected during this unit to make the paradigm shift from the traditional quantitative approach to research to the qualitative approach to research.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Moustakas, C. (1994). Phenomenological research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.
Tashakkori, A., & Teddlie, C. B. (1998). Mixed methodology: Combining qualitative and quantitative approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.