Qualitative versus Quantitative data

1 - Qualitative versus Quantitative data introduction. Describe how your research proposal will obtain and incorporate
qualitative and/or quantitative data.

The research involves collection and analysis of qualitative data. Data will first be collected from the internet since it contains some useful information concerning the personal knowledge management (PKM) tools. Through the internet one can access many websites and databases which contain important information on PKM. Data collected from the internet will be useful in laying the research foundation and in formulating the interview questions. Semi-structured interviews will be used to collect information from the IT experts and knowledge workers from their offices or companies. The interview process will commence by first interviewing the IT experts. This interview will mainly focus on IT experts who have specialized in provision of support for PKM. From the IT experts’ interview, data concerning security assurance and the level of security will be obtained. Knowledge workers who include students, teachers, among others will then be interviewed and data collected and recorded. The data collected from the knowledge workers will entail how they utilize the PKM tools and the problems they have encountered in using these tools. Apart from using the interviews for data collection, data will also be collected using direct observation and through examination of artifacts and documents arranged by knowledge workers using PKM tools.

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After all data has been collected, three steps will be used before making final judgments and these include; analyzing, synthesizing and theorizing. The data collected will be analyzed using analytical tools which have been developed and tested such as the spiral tool. The results obtained through analysis of data obtained from different parts will then be compared and the relationship between the different parts determined through a comprehensive discussion. The results obtained concerning the relationship between the different parts, will then be compared with a number of theories which have been developed and tested in order to identify the theories which give the best description of the results obtained. After identification of the theories, the judgments will then be made concerning the results obtained with regard to the known theories and own theories.

 The credibility of results or judgments will be verified through multiple perspectives. Opinions from the interviewees concerning the results will used to verify the results. Results from researches conducted earlier in the same field will also be used for result verification and the similarities and deviations will be further explained in the final report writing.

2. a) Describe the best uses of qualitative and quantitative data.

Psychology

In psychology, quantitative data has been used for a long time. However, some researchers have become dissatisfied with reduction of the human behavior to numerical numbers and also how the numerical results can be applied to the real situation. This has therefore led to an increase in the use of non-experimental methods since they give qualitative data which is much detailed. However, in psychology different approaches favor different methods that generate either qualitative or quantitative data.

In psychology, quantitative methods are used to determine the general behavioral laws. They are mainly used for psychological approaches that advocate for a more scientific method such as physiological approaches, among others (Colch). This is because scientific approaches require quantitative data as it provides much accuracy and allows use mathematical formulas. The quantitative methods employed in psychology include field, laboratory and naturalistic experiments and correlations.

The qualitative methods are used for psychological approaches that advocate for non-scientific methods such as the psychodynamic approach, among others (Colch). This is because such approaches require qualitative data as it provides much detail which is useful in analysis of behaviors of individuals. In collecting qualitative data, case studies and interviews which are unstructured are usually employed (Holah).

Art and humanities

In these fields, both quantitative and qualitative data are essential for the research. For instance, in studying the social networks around the world qualitative data is used to study the behaviors of individuals in the social network channel. The data obtained is then analyzed and used to determine the age group of most individuals using the social network. Consequently, in conducting the social network research, quantitative data is used to determine the rate at which the social network usage is increasing. The data obtained is then analyzed through calculations to determine the rate of increase.

b) Is one better than the other?

Superiority of one data type over the other depends on the type of research being done. There are some researches that would prefer qualitative data while others quantitative data. For instance, in psychological studies which are individualistic such the psychodynamic approach, qualitative data is the preferred choice while in most scientific studies the preferred data is the quantitative one. However, both data are complements of each other and hence for results to be more precise and accurate both data are essential. Therefore, none of them is better than the other in spite of the advantages it might have over the other. This is because they are mutually depended on each other to obtain the best results.

c) What are the inherent weaknesses of the two?
Quantitative data

The type of data is not detailed since everything is reduced to a numeric number. They therefore do not give enough details on researches which need more descriptive data to be used for detailed explanations. Furthermore, in spite of the method used for collecting quantitative data being reliable, the method lacks validity since it entails collection of numerical data under conditions which are in most cases controlled. Additionally, quantitative methods are not flexible as they do not consider other factors which might affect data obtained thereby making it more vulnerable to errors (Geocities).

Qualitative data

This type of data gives many details which are difficult to analyze, make comparison and draw concise conclusions. This is because it does not allow use of test significance, inferential statistics, or presentation of results graphically. In cases where the qualitative data requires conversion to a numerical form, most researchers are faced with difficulties because of the much detail available and hence do not know where to start. Furthermore, in spite of it being rich in details, it is time consuming (Neill, 2007). It is affected by many factors and thus requires much time to consider all the factors and in addition to that much time is spent in planning the approach, analyzing the results and in making the final judgment.

During interpretation of qualitative data there is a high risk of the results being biased. This is because the results obtained depend on the perception of the researcher thereby making the data collected open to biased interpretation. Additionally, qualitative data is unreliable and this can be attributed to the problems experienced in replicating the qualitative methods. Qualitative methods are difficult to replicate since they are much affected by many factors. The design of the method to be used emerges as the study unfolds (Neill, 2007) and this is an indication that there is no specific method that is designed for a particular study.

Word count: 1150.

Reference list

Colch. Qualitative and quantitative data. Retrieved July 9, 2009 from

http://www.colchsfc.ac.uk/psychology/QUALITATIVE%20AND%20QUANTITATIVE%20DATA.htm

Geocities. Qualitative and Quantitative research. Retrieved July 9, 2009 from http://uk.geocities.com/balihar_sanghera/ipsrmehrigiulqualitativequantitativeresearch.html

Holah. Quantitative and Qualitative Data. Retrieved July 9, 2009 from http://www.holah.karoo.net/quantitativequalitative.htm

Neill, J. (2007). Qualitative versus quantitative research:
key points in a classic debate. Retrieved July 9, 2009 from  http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html

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