Word Count: 1990
Student Name: Jingfei Liu (Fay)
Student Number: 14019115
Tutor: Honglei Li
Programme: Business Information Management
Module code: IS0629
Qualitative methodology 1
Quantitative research 3
Research methods 5
Data collection and analysis techniques 6
In society, sometime people find the information reflect on the modern life is differ from the reality, or maybe there is a development in society. Social researchers hope to encounter the problems and questions in society, and interested in studying how far it has influenced people’s life or even the nature. Therefore, social researchers use a constantly developing range of qualitative and quantitative methods to explore attitudes and experiences, and to understand patterns of social behavior. This paper will explore the different characteristics belong to qualitative methodology and quantitative methodology, their own strengths and weaknesses would be mentioned as well. On the other hand, in the discussion sections, some examples will be presented in order to better explain the procedures of the two methodologies.
According to Hennink and Hutter and Bailey (2011), qualitative research is hard to be given a clear definition, because it involves a wide range of techniques and philosophies. On the other hand, it provides people many chances to understand the meaning people have constructed. Researchers use a set of research methods, like in-depth interviews, focus group discussions, or observations to examine how people make sense of world and the experience they have in the world. In very board terms, it was described as emphasis on “understanding” and relate to inductive thinking, which reasoning from the specific to the general (Gabriel, 2013). In order to let reader deepen the understanding of the world, Skate (1980) claim that the most effective way is through words and illustrations, which involve personal experience.
Qualitative methodology could be treated as an interpretative approach. Hennink and Hutter and Bailey (2011) propose that researchers are allowed to analyze issues from the perspective of participants, and to give the interpretation of the phenomena. Therefore, Denzin and Lincoln (2008) conclude qualitative research ‘involve an interpretive, naturalistic approach to the world’. Qualitative researches focus on explanation, and this kind of research indeed requires the emphasis on detail, which generates rich descriptions (Bryman, 2008). Additionally, qualitative research prefers an open-ended and thus is less structured. Consequently, Bryman (2008) states the unstructured approach offers the possibility of being flexible, which can not only easier to change the direction of the topic but also the situation gaining the data. Besides, the flexibility is considered as the biggest difference between qualitative research and quantitative research (Anderson, 2006)
Sometimes, for some sensitive and complex topic, qualitative approach, like in-depth interview would be better to gain a better and personal understanding. For example, religions or drug addiction. Myers (2000) point out that one of the greatest strengths of the qualitative research is the depth of explorations and is really useful to address the “why” questions.
Despite the many strengths of qualitative research, it is still criticized for too subjective, the criticisms think it rely too much on the researchers’ own opinions about what is important or not important and lack of sufficient proves (Polit & Hungler, 1991) In addition, Bryman (2008) claim that there exists a problem of generalization for qualitative researchers. Owing to the small-scale of study and basically the locations used for carrying