In the most general and broad way the term research refers to collecting information and data, then interpreting and analyzing to draw a logical connection between the conclusion drawn from the observations collected. Research can be done in various ways i.e. through reading a book containing a lot of facts, researching on internet etc. (experiment-resources, n.d.)
Research can be done on any topic or subject chosen generally on the basis of interest of the researcher. Although research can be carried out through various ways but the type of researches can be broadly classified in two parts
· Qualitative research
· Quantitative research
There are certain characteristics of Quantitative research which differs from those of Qualitative research. In this a list of structured prepared questionnaire is distributed among a large population. The main emphasis in this is to get maximum feedback from large audiences who have to choose among the response option provided with each question. In this type of research the main objective is to get a sound quantity based and statistically valid output. Once the questionnaires are received then the response of the public is measured and calculated through statistical formulas from which the result is interpreted. Researchers strive to decrease and minimize the error as much as they can.
Qualitative research is done through careful observation of people’s actions and behavior, their preferences and their likes and dislikes. Overall in this type of research the data is calculated first hand by the researcher by noticing the overall behavior of the person towards the selected field of study. After collection of the data it’s then analyzed and interpreted to draw or chalk out a formal conclusion. Qualitative research points towards finding out the description and meaning of the topic to be researched whereas quantitative analysis is based upon how much data has been collected.
Depending on the field of study and interest both of these researches hold their advantages and disadvantages which the researcher has to keep in mind before deciding which method is going to be best.
Special education is designed for students born with some physical or mental deficiencies because of which it would be unsuitable for them to study with normal students free from these restraints. Education, be it for a special or a normal student, requires a careful evaluation so that the full capabilities, weaknesses, learning power etc can be measured of each individual student. By this evaluation it can be checked how much the student has actually grasped, understood and retained from the lectures delivered to him/her. Just like a normal student this evaluation for a special student holds equal importance for a student’s mental and physical growth. So the methodology selected should be designed in such a way so that the correct conclusion can be drawn out.
According to my perception and view point the best method to evaluate a special student is by qualitative research rather than going for the quantitative one. The reason behind this is that all the special students are different, having different mental capabilities and hence require an altogether different approach to be evaluated properly. Rather than going for quantity a researcher should opt for the method which would give him the best view of how much the student has actually learned and grasped from the course selected and this could be done only by qualitative research.
Qualitative research, in comparison, is much more subjective than the other method and relies on extracting the data through different methods like focus group or interviews. In this type of research the students can be provided with various tasks and then the evaluation data could be generated on-sight. The quantitative methodology of research isn’t selected because in this a fixed questionnaire is to be provided to each and every student, but the major point to be stressed out is that each student is special and distinguished from the other according to the deficiencies, having them fill out a questionnaire which has to cater to everyone of these students is impossible. It would also be unfair to these students because the correct information has yet to be analyzed and concluded. The Qualitative research is more prone towards informal interpretation and gathering of the data from the students to be evaluated. By Qualitative analysis each student can be individually measured on-sight which would leave no room for misinterpretations because now the response of the student is not taken collectively in a group. By interviews, focus groups and various other activities the researchers get more close to what they are analyzing through which they can generate almost accurate output and thus reducing the chances of errors. The main requirement and need of a special student is to have individual attention rather than being focused or looked upon as a group and qualitative research ensures that such surroundings are provided to them so that they can be more relaxed and answer naturally.
Since its individually based evaluation method the researcher can probe and find why the student is responding in a certain behavior, rather than just focusing on the answers they can better get to know why a student is thinking in such a way, what he/she is feeling, their opinions likes and dislikes which made them respond in the way they did. This type of evaluation is more beneficial and would be giving more natural results. This method is also less costly then the surveys or questionnaires and is going to require less input and give quicker and better results.
Through the above mentioned points it’s very clear that for the correct interpretation and evaluation of the special students the researchers should opt for qualitative research rather than the quantity based research method. This is done because by this the correct thought process, feeling, emotions, behavior, likes, dislikes can be measured correctly and in such a way that it would give the teachers an idea as to how they can improve their study method. Also instead of providing the student with fixed answers from which they have to select, it allows them to think and do whatever they actually want to do and not what they are supposed to do. This ensures unbiased and almost error free result.
Thomas, R.M. (2003). Blending Qualitative & Quantitative Research Methods in Theses and Dissertations. Corwin Press.
Creswell, J.W. (2008) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches. Sage Publications
Council for Exceptional Children (1983) Exceptional Children
Council for Exceptional Children
Johnson, B., Christensen, L.B. (2007) Educational Research: Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Approaches. Sage Publications