Jan 12, 2018 in Research

Methodology

Introduction

Research methodology is a crucial part of a research since it highlights the required information in assessing the dependability and reliability of the research. Consequently, specifying an accurate prescription of the research methods and its relevant underlying principles are significant in affirming the validity of a research report. The context of a research and study questions determine the research methods to be deployed. According to Dawson (2002), experimental research has the core objective of elucidating the present state of affairs by using predetermined measurement variables. Additionally, it is also significant to consider the perception that research relies on probability. Research methods can take the form of quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of both. The three research designs have advantages and disadvantages. In this regard, this research paper attempts to explain the strengths and drawbacks of each research design.

Advantages of Qualitative Methods

Quality methodology is an exploratory tool. Researchers might not necessarily know the impending event when performing a research. Qualitative methods can be extremely helpful in such cases since they allow the researcher to make qualitative observations. According to Kumar (2005), it is extremely useful, since it will enable researchers to recognize the elements that they need to focus on and analyze during the study. Since the researcher can observe events as they unfold, he or she knows what to quantify and try to explain.

Qualitative methods are rich in data concerning the subject under research. Qualitative data is important, since it offers a deep and complex recognition of what is taking place during the research. Qualitative methods consider things such as quality, meaning and context of the research. For instance, numbers can quantify the information about painting, though qualitative methods can describe how well the painting has been done.  

Additionally, qualitative methods show concreteness. According to Walliman (2006), qualitative studies acknowledge that the research hypotheses are not often answered with a simple yes or no. Consequently, this enables researchers to have a wider horizon to research and through the interpretation of research findings. Qualitative methods ask open-ended questions, which implore widely diverse answers from various individuals. Conclusions and answers differ depending in various factors.

Disadvantages of Qualitative Methods

The first disadvantage of qualitative methods is that it is very hard for an individual to construe and reproduce the results. For instance, in chemical experiments, a mixture can turn blue, but is difficult to recognize if the exact shade of blue has been duplicated. According to Walliman (2006), qualitative form of measurement is not often as precise as quantitative.

A key disparagement of qualitative methodology is that it uses the researcher as the measuring tool. Human beings, as part of the experiments, are likely being bias in their judgment. For instance, an individual might describe a brand as “hot,” though another individual might classify the brand as “mild” because he or she likes spicy food. Subjectivity prevents qualitative researchers from making general conclusions, which are necessary in expanding scientific knowledge. According to Kumar (2005), qualitative researchers are deeply involved in the process that offers him or her subjective perception of the research and its participants. As a result, the researcher interprets the findings based on his or her biased perception that skews the collected data.

The misunderstanding or misuse of the abilities of qualitative research is another common problem. Many researchers, especially companies, prefer results that are rich in data. In addition, researchers will also presume that the results are projectable. However, according to Dawson (2002), the presumption is incorrect. Since the analysis deals with extremely small sample size and is subjective, projectability is impossible.

Qualitative research creates a false impression that it will produce definitive conclusions.  In reality, the outcomes of qualitative research do not provide researchers with definitive conclusion. These methods only provide sufficient information that will assist the research in making firm decisions.

Advantages of Quantitative Methods

One of the chief advantages of quantitative methods is their inherent straightforwardness in comparison to other research methods that depend on qualitative data. According to Kumar (2005), quantitative methods deploy a set of statistical principles used to make projections based on existing data. Extrapolation and judgment, in this type of research, is less significant, since it depends on quantifiable data, which only varies upon the introduction of other quantifiable variables. The simplicity of quantitative methods allows them to state the results in the form that can be represented using charts, graphs and lengthy reports based on opinions.

Quantitative methods also have a significant amount of reliability as compared to qualitative methods. According to Dawson (2002), quantitative methods depend heavily on the present data and are deployed in a context that has some aspect of predictability. Dawson (2002), also points out that quantitative methods are based on previous statistical data and performance, while with qualitative methods, the reliability of the method is dependent on the accuracy of the existing data in forecasting the future results.

According to Dawson (2002), quantitative methods are significantly more objective than qualitative methods due to the statistical data upon which they depend. On the other hand, qualitative methods depend on statistics arising from judgments and opinions instead of the actual data based on the previous data. In addition, quantitative conclusions can be made depending on sheer data and need much less subjective interpretation.

Disadvantages of Quantitative Research Methods

The major drawback of using quantitative methods is that it ignores the context of the study or experiment. According to Dawson (2002), these methods do not analyse things in their natural settings. Qualitative methods also do not discuss the meanings of the variables to different people as compared to qualitative data.

Another disadvantage is that quantitative research requires large samples. It is obvious that there are various logistical problems associated with collecting the large sample. These logistical problems can undermine the research leading to wrong interpretation and conclusions. On the other hand, quantitative research methods are short interviews that take about 20 minutes and have a rigid structure. According to Kumar (2005), quantitative methods are not flexible when performing a market research. The mishandling of weighting and sampling can comprehensively interfere with the validity, accuracy and projections of the study.

Advantages of Mixed Research Methods

Mixed research methods deploy the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative methods to offer an extremely broad view on the research question. A single research methodology uses a single design. The design might involve experiments to determine the cause and effect concerning a certain issue. On the other hand, it might only deploy the use of observation to explore why a certain problem has taken place. For example, an experiment might show an irregularity, which was not evident in the observation, whereas observations provide shade that cannot be captured in surveys involving multiple choices.

Mixed research methods consider the two methodologies in coming up with conclusions. Researchers are people and have different opinions or views concerning an event or a phenomenon under research. Due to difference in their human nature, some of the researchers are more proficient in performing one methodology over another. For instance, a pragmatic researcher is most likely to lean towards definitive conclusions provided by quantitative researcher. Linear individuals might posses the ability to conduct a qualitative analysis. If an individual leaning towards a certain research method conducts a research, the research could undergo bias unless adjustments are made to explain the methodology.

According to Dawson (2002), mixed research methods consign qualitative analysis to not only investigate but also identify a problem and possible solutions. The use of qualitative methods enables mixed methods of research to provide very subtle detail, which highlights the problem. Most mixed methods of research start with a qualitative observation of a phenomenon or an event. The study then deploys quantitative tools such as a survey in order to invalidate of validates the findings made during the qualitative sections.

Mixed research methods are also advantageous in expanding the study in a manner that a single methodology cannot. According to Dawson (2002), the process of offering statistical assessment along with observations makes the study more all-inclusive. Academic research collects information from other academic sources and mixed research methods provide a wide-ranging landscape. There is simply a wide range of information from which the researcher can develop hypotheses. Mixed methods might move forward the timeline of the research discussion by providing more data for future research and discussions.

Disadvantages of Mixed Research Methodologies

Mixed methodologies might result in the analysis of dissimilar problems at the quantitative and qualitative stages of the study. Qualitative analysis is intrinsically focused on various solutions, since interviews reveal various information that might be different, but true. On the other hand, quantitative analysis intrinsically looks for one solution.

Conclusion

Research methodology is a crucial part of a research, since it highlights the required information in assessing the dependability and reliability of the research. Research methods can take the form of quantitative, qualitative or a mixture of both. Qualitative methods can be extremely helpful in such cases, since they allow the researcher to make qualitative observations. One of the chief advantages of quantitative method is their inherent straightforwardness in comparison to other research methods that depend on qualitative data. Mixed research methods deploy the strengths of both the qualitative and quantitative methods to offer an extremely broad view on the research question. 

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