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´╗┐EXAMINE THE REASONS WHY POSITIVISTS PREFER QUANTITATIVE DATA WHILE INTERPRETIVISTS PREFER QUALITATIVE DATA. ( 20 marks) 10 marks A01 10 marks A02 Can begin by briefly defining quantitative and qualitative data and giving one or two examples of methods that produce each type of data. Explain the connections between quantitative data and the positivists? scientific approach, using issues such as correlation, hypothesis testing, generalisations and cause and effect statements or scientific laws. Relate these to the key concepts of reliability and representativeness, explaining why methods that produce quantitative data may also produce reliable and representative data. Likewise, explain the links between qualitative data and interpretivism?s goal of understanding actors? subjective meanings, and link this to the key interpretivist concept of validity. ...read more.


Positivists favour a scientific approach emphasising the need for reliability and therefore they use structured research methods that can be repeated, such as experiments, questionnaires and structured interviews. Positivists regard participant observation and unstructured interviews as unreliable because they cannot be repeated and do not use a standardised system of measurement. A hypothesis is an idea which the researcher guesses might be true, but which has not yet been tested against the evidence so it is a prediction of what the researcher thinks will happen e.g. Hypothesis: Pigs get fat because they eat too much food. Correlation: If changes in one thing are matched by changes in another thing then there is said to be a correlation or relationship between the two things. ...read more.


For example, -----In practice a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods are used, a process known as triangulation, which results in both statistical and written data being used. This results in the strengths of one type balancing the weakness of the other. However, funding bodies, for example the Government, often prefer, quantitative data which is easy to analyse and to confirm or put forward the policies of the day. The nature of the topic also can influence whether the data used is quantitative or qualitative. NOTE: This is probably one of the hardest questions you will have to answer on research methods. If you can master this essay this will really help you in your basic understanding of research methods. GOOD LUCK! ...read more.

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