Research Methods Essay
Research Methods Essay
Institution of Affiliation
Research Methods Essay
The nature of human beings keeps on changing with the evolving world. In order to understand human beings behaviour and mind, Psychology was introduced as an applied science where it is studied in schools as an academic discipline. Psychology attempts to understand human beings more through establishing theories and conducting research to try and prove those theories and also researching different areas of interest with the intention of gaining knowledge that explains human behaviour and mind.
There are two types of research generally exploratory research that includes qualitative design and explanatory research which includes hypothesis testing and quantitative design. The epistemology that is also known as the philosophy of knowledge is a relative of methodology. Epistemology is concerned with how humans come to know the reality while methodology points out the steps followed to realize the reality (Neuman, 2005).
Quantitative research paradigm
This approach attempts to be empirical in its nature by being objective, generalizing findings and being replicable. It ensures validity through conducting pilot experiments and an enhanced process of clarification. By being objective, this means that the experiment or the research work is not connected directly to the researcher that is the researcher and the experiment is apart. It is based on quantitative data that is mathematical calculations and numbers
In this paradigm the researcher starts by choosing a topic, then the researcher narrows down the topic down to focus on a specific research question that is possible to be confirmed in the study. The second step is concerned with data collection. Information is recorded and verified carefully by the researcher before saving the data for future use. This data that is recorded help in establishing correlations between variables and the possible outcomes. The researcher then analyses the large amounts of recorded data and provides interpretation and meaning to the data. After interpreting the data, the researcher then writes a conclusive report that explains the results of the study.
The epistemological assumption of quantitative research assumes that the researcher is independent from the subject of research. The methodology assumes that the process of research is a deductive process, establishes cause and effect and is free of context. The sole purpose of quantitative research is to explain a phenomenon or behaviour and also provide a probability for predictability. In psychology Quantitative research is used in statistical data analysis where a research is carried out on a phenomenon either through observation or questionnaires and the data gathered is used statistically to establish a correlation between the cause and effect of that particular phenomenon for example in clinical trials (Elmes, Kantowitz & Roediger, 2011).
Advantages of Quantitative research paradigm
It can be administered and also be evaluated quickly. Secondly data obtained from the research is used to facilitate comparison between groups and organizations and measure the level of participation by the participants. Lastly, the researcher obtains legitimate quantitative data that is reliable.
Limitations of Quantitative research paradigm
It does not give room for human perceptions and beliefs this is because it only deals with numbers and human perceptions emotions and identities cannot be measured in numbers. An effective quantitative research requires a wide coverage in order to have the larger sample size, however, this wide coverage is sometimes limited by the scarcity of resources to fund the research both concerning finances and skilled labour.
Quantitative data fails to provide an in-depth coverage of information by not being thorough where the data obtained is not accurate and hence hinders the action intended to be taken after the research was completed.
Qualitative research paradigm
It is subjective, this means that people perceive the truth differently from each other. It tries to establish how the different people perceive or see the lives they lead and the researchers start by self- assessment and he interacts with what is being researched. It does not focus on one topic but, on the whole, situation of understanding, discovering and exploring the purpose and meaning. Scientifically this approach is bottom up in that the researcher uses the data gathered from the experiment to develop knowledge, a hypothesis and a theory to support his research. Qualitative research is mostly used in psychology to understand and acknowledge individuals and certain groups of people. In this type of research, the researchers often hold the factors that are not being constantly studied. The main aim of the researchers is to avoid the disturbance of the normal flow of behaviour. Qualitative research is mainly based on qualitative data such as spoken narratives and written narratives
Naturally this paradigm is interpretive and ethnographic. In qualitative research biases of the researcher is restricted by a systematic way of undertaking the research, the self-assessment of oneself that researchers engage in and the maintaining and keeping of records of the entire research process and steps. The research methods include case studies, ethnographies, field notes, records and filming, observations, focus groups, narrative research and case studies. The nature of the research data and instruments also include words, participant observation and open-ended questionnaires. The data analysis in this paradigm involve the use of descriptive data, themes and holistic features, and searching for patterns.
The main purpose of qualitative research is to facilitate social change by providing useful information that can be used to understand individuals and create awareness of specific groups of people or situations that are not being researched on (Coolican, 1990). The methodological assumption of this paradigm is that the process is an inductive one, it is bound to the context, and it has an emerging design and is simultaneously shaping factors.
Characteristics of qualitative design
Qualitative research is conducted in a natural setting for the full understanding of the reality. Secondly the humans and the researchers are the sources of data gathering, the researcher interacts with the study participants.
Advantages of Qualitative research paradigm
Researchers engage directly with the people being researched who helps them understand their different perspectives in the community. Homogenous groups of people, when asked questions together, provide good results than the answers the researchers would obtain from conducting a survey.
In qualitative research the researcher can interact directly with the people and can try and understand through probing cultural beliefs and the way of life of that particular group that helps to raise new issues once the researcher understands what drives that group of people.
Limitations of Qualitative research paradigm
During the research process, it is hard to be objective and also be able to verify information that the researcher have. This is because the group being researched is the one that controls the study because if the researcher intervenes, then he or she will interrupt the group’s normal way of behaviour which will lead to incorrect results.
The skilful requirement for interviewers. Qualitative research requires skilful interviewers who can note even the slightest problem or issue that can go unobserved. The researcher must be keen and take into every detail how the people behave and react to different situations. The researcher also needs to be able to direct the people to talk or think about the area of study without interfering with their normal way of thinking.
Qualitative research is time-consuming in that it requires the researcher to spend a lot of time in the field collecting data in various circumstances of the group under study in order to understand fully their way of thinking and how they perceive their life (Taylor & Bogdan, 1998).
Differences and similarities between quantitative and qualitative paradigm
Quantitative researchers mostly depend on positivist approach where they follow a linear research path and apply reconstructed logic while on the other hand qualitative researchers depend on social science, often follow a non-linear path and use logic in practice Quantitative research is mainly a deductive process that is used in testing of pre-specified concepts, hypothesis and constructs that makes a theory while qualitative research is an inductive process that is used in formulation of a theory. Quantitative research is objective in that its results are observed effects of a particular problem or condition.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is subjective in that it tries to describe or state a problem from the perception of the people experiencing that particular problem. Quantitative research mainly involves statistical numbers while qualitative research is based on the text. Quantitative research provides less information but more coverage of the information on a large number of issues. On the other hand, qualitative research is useful in providing in-depth information but on less coverage of issues. Quantitative research uses unstructured and semi-structured options for responses while qualitative research uses a fixed option for the response.
Both quantitative and qualitative research methods face a limitation by environmental variables that the researchers have no control over. Both quantitative and qualitative research begins with a research question for study. Without any problem or question that needs to be solved then there no reason to conduct research. There is no research that can be conducted without first coming up with a research plan in these case both quantitative and qualitative research requires a research plan.
When researchers engage in a research endeavour, it means that a problem has arisen and they require to obtain a solution or understand that particular problem. The purpose of this research be it quantitative or qualitative becomes action oriented. After conducting research, the researchers engage in an important step in the research process of data analysis where the researchers try to interpret and give meaning to the data recorded. This step is fundamental in both quantitative and qualitative research paradigm (Trochim & Donnelly, 2001).
Even though the research paradigms vary there are both important and are used today by scientists in various disciplines like in medicine, business and governments. They help in identifying problems and finding a solution to that particular problem by providing a course of action thus the fact for them being action oriented.
Coolican, H. (1990). Research methods and statistics in psychology. Hodder & Stoughton Educational.
Elmes, D., Kantowitz, B., & Roediger III, H. (2011). Research methods in psychology. Cengage Learning.
Neuman, W. L. (2005). Social research methods: Quantitative and qualitative approaches (Vol. 13). Boston: Allyn and Bacon.
Taylor, S. J., & Bogdan, R. (1998). Introduction to qualitative research methods: A guidebook and resource . John Wiley & Sons Inc.
Trochim, W. M., & Donnelly, J. P. (2001). Research methods knowledge base.