Comparing methods used in research
The fundamental difference between research methods lies on whether the research is quantitative or qualitative in conduct. Research method adopted determines collection of raw data, its analysis and presentation of findings. Quantitative methods have been associated with positivist ontologies in contrast to qualitative approaches that draw on critical and interpretative paradigms. In qualitative method, the variances arrived at are presented in terms of how high or good the attributes are. On the other hand, quantitative methods use numerals and formulas to derive their findings. The third method combines both qualitative and quantitative techniques in research conduct. In fact, contemporary research projects adopt the combined method so as to capture and present data concisely and completely (Johnson, Christensen, 2007). This paper intends to distinguish between the aforementioned research methods. The paper will identify the attributes of each method. Furthermore, strengths and weaknesses of either will be presented.
Abbreviated quantitative research
According to Teddlie &Tashakkori 2009, abbreviated quantitative research conforms to studies whose data is analyzed numerically with an aim of establishing general principles and laws. Findings are therefore presented empirically. Abbreviated quantitative research method has three major characteristics that distinguish it with other aforementioned methods. First, the plan establishes clear control. The said control helps in formulating unambiguous answers such that causes of identified effect can be isolated. Second abbreviated quantitative plan in research clearly tests replicability of data so that generalization of findings is reliable. Lastly, there is a systematic creation and empirical testing of hypothesis which validates the entire research process.
Quantitative research plans present the following strengths. First, there is precision due as a result of reliable and quantitative measurement. Second, Cottrell & McKenzie 2010 argues that the plan utilizes sampling and design techniques thus enhancing control which is vital in research. Furthermore, causality statements are generated by using controlled experiments. In addition, statistical techniques employed in abbreviated quantitative research enables generation of sophisticated analyses with an in-depth dissection of the research question. Lastly quantitative research is replicable thus valid generalizations can be deduced from the findings.
The following limitations may be attributed to quantitative research plan. First, associated mechanistic ethos excludes notions of choice, freedom and moral responsibility. Second, the method produces trivial and banal findings of diminished significance due to control and restriction of variables. In addition, control of entire variables is faced with complexity of human experience.
Abbreviated qualitative research
Qualitative research plans collect and analyze data in non-numeric forms thereby achieving more depth as compared to quantitative methods that produce more breadth. Under qualitative research plan, research immerses the focus into settings of the events in context. In fact, inquiry contexts are natural and not contrived thus nothing is predefined or assumed. Individuals being studied speak for themselves hence grabbing the chance to air their perspectives in actions and words. Most importantly, qualitative methods involve interaction between researcher and subject whereby the later teaches the former about their lives (Johnson, Christensen, 2007).
The following strengths accrue to abbreviated qualitative research method. First, researcher can access insider’s field view hence gathering issues often missed by quantitative methods. Second, resulting findings are easily usable by practitioners due to descriptive and narrative styles employed. In addition, qualitative descriptions can suggest possible causes, effects, relationships and dynamic processes involved in the research. Finally, qualitative research techniques attend to contextual experiences in whole not as distinct variables (Cottrell & McKenzie, 2010)
Drawbacks in use of abbreviate qualitative research method include the complexity and time consuming nature of technique of describing and expressing data in words. Second, reliability and validity lacks due to subjectivity of data and its source as single contexts. Third, replicability of situations, interactions, conditions and events is impossible hence generalization of findings is narrowly limited to study context. Fourth, confidentiality of respondents is compromised in selection of findings. In addition, the subject of study is profoundly affected by the physical presence of researcher that distracts the natural setting for occurrences.
Abbreviated mixed methods research
Mixed methods research utilizes qualitative research paradigm in a phase and quantitative paradigm for the other in the same study. For example, experiments may be conducted quantitatively followed by qualitative interview with contextual participants to test if they concur with results. In fact, this approach is synonymous to conduct of two mini-studies in one overall research. Abbreviated mixed methods approach may be in form of explanatory, exploratory or triangulation in design.
To start with, mixed methods plan draws from strengths of both quantitative and qualitative research techniques. Second, the phenomena in study is comprehensively viewed more that in the aforementioned research plans. In addition, mixed methods plan puts into consideration all the available data without limiting it to empirical or non-empirical.
First, mixed methods researches has to be conducted by experts drawn from the constitute methods which adds on to the cost of study. Second, data collection and associated resources has to be extensively done for proper establishment of relationships amongst the diverse range of variables captured. Lastly, intensity of use of either qualitative or quantitative may be compromised yet researchers claim that findings are arrived at after use of mixed methods plan (Teddlie &Tashakkori, 2009).
Cottrell, R. , McKenzie, J. (2010). Education research methods and health promotion. Massachusetts, USA: Jones & Bartlett Learning publishers.
Johnson, B. , Christensen, L. (2007). Educational research: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed approaches. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publishers.
Teddlie, C. , Tashakkori, A. (2009). Foundations of mixed research methods: integrating qualitative and quantitative approaches in behavioral and social sciences. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage publishers