Qualitative Research: Are primary concerned with practice and process rather than outcomes that is focus on the process that is occurring instead of the outcome of the process the focus is on participants, perceptions and experiences and the way they make sense of their lives. Qualitative research also called field research typically involves fieldwork in which the researcher observes and records behaviour and events in their natural setting, the researcher physically goes to the people, setting or site in order to observe the subject as it normally and naturally occurs or behaves. Methods of data collections:
- Direct Observation: The researcher studies people in their natural environment, simply observing interactions and behaviours as an outsider without participating
- In depth interview: The research interview participating in depth and one to one the interview typically has a general plan of inquiry but not a specific set of questions that must be asked in a particular order rather it flows more like a conversation in which the respondent guides the direction of the interview
- Participation: The researcher observes behaviour by participating in the group and gaining first had experience
- Immersion: The researcher immerses themselves into setting, living among the participants for months or years the researcher goes native to get an in-depth and longitudinal understanding of the subject
- Focus groups: The researcher interviews a small group of participants at the same time the focus groups are generally more structured and contain 10 - 15 participants at a time, focus groups are used often in market research.
Strengths of qualitative research is especially effective for studying attitudes and behaviours for examining social processes over time the main strength of this method then lies in the depth of understanding. Another advantage of qualitative research is the flexibility researchers can modify their field research design at anytime and as often as they like. Qualitative research has several weaknesses as well it is not appropriate for statistical descriptions of large population examples of data and quantitve data it includes statistics of crime rates ad media reports, letters and diaries. There are a number of quanitive data which are:
- Test hypothesis
- Study treads
- Make comparisons
- Establish causality
- Easy to analyse
The disadvantage of quantitive is that it lacks depth and can have no meaning it has no focus on the individual it can sometime distorts reality, the advantages of qualitive research is that it is close to reality it can be more personal it can present in depth feelings and meanings the health workers don’t impose their view of the word.
Secondary Research: When using secondary data is an analysis there are some important things that must be done beforehand it is important for the researcher to become familiar with the data set including now the data was what the response categories are for each question. There are a great deal of secondary data resources and data sets available for sociological research many of which are public and easily accessible. The biggest advantage of using secondary data is collected the data so the researcher does not have to devote money, time, energy and other resources to this type of research sometimes the disadvantage of using secondary data is that it may not answer the researchers specific research questions or contain specific information that the researcher would like to have or it may not have been collected in the geographic region. Since the researcher did not collect the data then they have no control over what is contained in the data set.
Sources of primary data:
Laboratory Experiments: A highly controlled situation where researchers try to isolate the influence of each variable it is a controlled experiment focuses on 1 aspect of social behaviour the advantages of laboratory experience is that they are replicable and reliable they control over independent variable laboratory experiments are controlled in a environment can establish cause and effect relationships. The disadvantage of laboratory experiments they are artificial environment they have ethical issues also it effects behavioural changes as result of the researcher presence or the knowledge of being the subject of experiment.
Field Experiments: An experiment conducted in the participant’s natural environment e.g.: workplace, sometimes the researcher will adapt or create a real life situation to test a research aim. Although they will not be able to control all the possible influences on the outcome of the experiment one or more variables will be controlled.`