• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Compare and contrast qualitative and quantitative approaches to research methodology.

Extracts from this document...


Title: Compare and contrast qualitative and quantitative approaches to research methodology. It is within human nature and instinct to be aware and to seek an understanding of the natural occurrences within our environment. Therefore it can be said, in order to attain the understanding of the unknown, we must go through specific processes of experiences, reasoning and research (Mouly, 1978 cited in Cohen, L and Manion J, 2000). This brings to light the importance of research within our daily existence, where research is not just looked upon as a practical exercise, more however as an abstract tool with a view to perceive and understand the world in which we live in and how we interpret the knowledge but most importantly how we analyse the purpose of understanding. As 'To understand is hard. Once one understands, action is easy.' (San Yat Sen, cited in Cohen, L and Manion J, 2000) The purpose of research can be seen upon as to explore the information within our environment and consider their viability and effectiveness and whether these can add value for learners to the whole experience. Research Methodologies engage in methods of investigation and sampling techniques, researchers mainly use two types of research to obtain their information, firstly Primary data; this is where information is collected independently, Primary sources refer to specific materials which are written or composed by people who actually witnessed the events that they have describe, this can be phrased as representing knowledge by 'acquaintance' (Bertrand Russell's 1912 cited in May, 1997). ...read more.


Others go a stage further and view qualitative research as a search for understanding in which '...the principal concern is with ...the way in which the individual creates, modifies and interprets the world in which he or she finds himself or herself.' (Cohen and Mannion 1998, p8). Also researchers who take on this qualitative approach, who are open to individual perceptions, were felt by Bell (1993) to '...seek insights rather than statistical analysis.' (Bell,1993, p6). So in other terms Qualitative research focuses upon how to study people and their organisations in their natural settings. Qualitative researchers tend to look at problems and questions rather than produce and test hypotheses, which is quite the opposite to quantitative methods, the research is described in words rather than numbers and draws from a range of methods, it is particularly useful in areas where there is little pre-existing knowledge, where it is difficult or inappropriate to produce a hypothesis and where issues are complex and require in-depth exploration. There are many characteristics within qualitative research method, looking at the approach concerned with that meaning of the information is considered most important, the method allows greater freedom for the subjects of the research to determine the information gathered, so, quality and richness of information is often greater.(Miles and Huberman 1994). Qualitative research is renowned for its participation observation approach, where the researcher tries to maintain a close and trustworthy relationship with his subject, they do this by becoming involved physically and mentally in the subject's ...read more.


one an idea has more of a chance to produce similar results or implications, as triangulation allows for more accurate interpretation of a topic and a more rounded picture therefore it can be stated as having a higher validity Concluding on comparing and contrasting quantitative and qualitative approaches, it can be suggested that to certain extent, that there are advantages and disadvantages within both approaches, as each method has its suitability's and each has its draw backs, quantitative research often "forces" responses or people into categories that might not "fit" in order to make meaning and qualitative research, on the other hand, sometimes focuses too closely on individual results and fails to make connections to larger situations or possible causes of the results. As these points have been acknowledged, rather than downplaying either approach for its drawbacks, through combined research it should find the most effective ways to incorporate elements of both to ensure that their studies are as accurate and thorough as possible, as 'Any research project is likely to raise ethical issues. This is particularly so if it involves people directly, but may also be the case even if you conduct your research entirely on documentary evidence.' (Blaxter et al 1997, p146). It is clear that both methods are also supported by different aspects of quality, credibility, reliability and validity throughout their methodology, as whichever method is used for a particular study, it can be suggested that the method used should be appropriate for the subject being studied. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our University Degree Statistics section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related University Degree Statistics essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Do House Prices Affect Homelessness in London?

    3 star(s)

    And because I had different measurement values in my calculations (pound sterling in house prices and number of households in homelessness figures) I could not make direct comparisons between the 2 sets of data. So first I calculated the means and standard deviations for both sets of values to then

  2. The Advantages and Disadvantages of Quota Sampling Compared to Random Sampling

    The polls over-estimated the number of votes Thomas E.Dewey would receive, and this is was due to the problems surrounding quota sampling mentioned previously (Mendenhall, Lyman Ott, Scheaffer, 2006).

  1. A Critical Appraisal of Three Research Studies Related To Peripheral Venous Cannulae and the ...

    For instance, there could be a tendency to accept the design at face value or for it to bias the critical analysis of the study. Lai's (1998), study is described as a prospective, nonrandomised study. According to Woods and Catanzario (1988), a prospective design aims to observe a sample on

  2. This assignment is based on research methods and how they are employed in health ...

    Published statistics are results to things such has crime and how much it has increased or decreased. This is published from the government. (B) Historical records are pieces of data that have been kept to be looked at to maybe compare.

  1. Features of Quantitative Research.

    It has high reliability as different researchers, using the same measurement system are likely to come up at the same measurement for same subjects This method is appropriate for measuring both attitudes and behaviours and therefore quantitative research method is one of the traditional research method that many psychologists used in their approach to research design.

  2. How statistical interpretation can cause data to appear misleading

    Each technique will be preferable to the specific aim of the study and population groups required, with random sampling being the ideal technique as it provides a representative sample of the population as a whole. However all four of the techniques can result in misleading statistics if not performed with

  1. RESEARCH PROPOSAL In order to identity the specific fields within the broad genre of ...

    An investigation into the characteristics of MP's in the UK House of Commons found that British politicians were predominantly recruited from the professions. Therefore, any data on the percentage of women within certain sectors of the labour market would contribute to this study.

  2. "Positivist researchers adopt a quantitative methodology and carry out surveys and questionnaires - Interpretevist ...

    This idea of rigorously testing a hypothesis still underpins the positivist approach taken by scientific researchers today. It is clear that the scientific approach has helped deliver many vital contributions in terms of successful research for example, Skinners groundbreaking research into reinforcement and learning.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work