Quantitative Research Methods

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Quantitative Research Methods

Quantitative Research Methods


When undertaking communal study there are two most routinely used methods: quantitative and qualitative; There is often the large divide between users of qualitative and quantitative methods of research. Put easily, quantitative research benefits mathematical principals and it is statistical, therefore it is often examined as more dependable and valid. On other hand there is qualitative study which is founded on consulting and finding out "why" of the specific situation. Qualitative research is interpretative rather than descriptive, is non-numerical and is known for its credibility and auditability.

A balanced assessment of two forms of research requires the knowledge of history behind two forms of research, an in depth look at what they are and what they both entail as social research and to discover different methods that can be used within qualitative and quantitative research. We also need to find out strengths and weaknesses of both qualitative and quantitative data so fair judgment can be made to discover if there is the correct way to undertake social research.

The history behind qualitative and quantitative data

It is qualitative data that has its origins in hermeneutics and can often be associated with ethnography, naturalistic research or grounded theory (which I will discuss later).Hermeneutics is "the view that observation is an imperative process" (Sutton and Bradley 1993:406)In English dictionary hermeneutics is defined as " 1.The science of interpretation, esp. scriptures 2. The branch of theology that deals with principals and methodology of exegeses."(Collins English dictionary 1979).The name 'Hermeneutics' was taken from son of Zeus called Hermes who was known as "god of travelers" (Gadamer 1960/1975 as cited in Kliening and Witt). Hermes was seen as competent because of his 'slyness' and therefore gods trusted him to interpret their intentions to human beings

Later, in 1843/1906 John Stuart Mill was said to tell social researchers to "emulate their older, 'harder' cousins (meaning practices of quantitative research) , promising that if his advice were followed, rapid maturation of these fields, as well as their emancipation from philosophical and theological structures that limited them would follow" (Guba and Lincoln 1998:196-197) Meaning that if qualitative data could be somewhat structured then results from research could be recognized as the valid form of research.

During 1960's the German writer by name of Hans-Georg Gadamer published the book on 'philosophical hermeneutics'. Around same time Jurgen Habermas wrote the book on status of methodology in social sciences. Both of these writers acknowledged relationship between Geisteswissenschaftn (which is known as social science) and natural science. After this period, teaching of methodology, textbooks and research work noted and gave access to opposing methods of research under headings of what we now call 'quantitative' and 'qualitative' research, although both approaches were used since 1930's (Kleining and Witt)

How qualitative and quantitative techniques work

An explanation of how Qualitative research works can be described as “Attempts to verify or generate the theory gleaned from gathering broad descriptive information in the natural setting,"(Redmond, Keenan and Landorf 2000:7) which is the reason as to why qualitative data ...
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