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Journal Assignment

Galina Culpechina

ETEC 500 - Research Methodology in Education

University of British Columbia


Journal Assignment

In his article, Norman Denzin polarizes the interpretive community (qualitative

researchers) and the evidence-based community (quantitative researchers) and considers the

evidence-based model "an intruder that presents a variety of threats to qualitative research".

Being a proponent of qualitative research, Norman Denzin provides arguments why qualitative

and quantitative methods cannot work together and supports the idea that two paradigms are in

contradiction (Smith and Hodkinson, 2005) and cannot complement each other, and that any

effort to circumvent this collision seems doomed to failure (Teddlie and Tashakkoroi, 2003).

On the contrary, Ercikan & Roth argue against a polarization between qualitative and

quantitative methods and the associated polarization between subjective and objective

evidence. They suggest putting research questions first and taking an integrated approach to

education research enquiry by encouraging researchers to join expertise and collaborate.

I agree with Ercikan & Roth that the use of polarization in research " tends to limit

research inquiry", that research questions "should determine the modes of inquiry that are used to

conduct good research" and that a well-integrated collaborations among researchers with

expertise in different modes of inquiry will lead to research that focuses on meaning,

implementation and inferences.

According to Ercikan & Roth, all phenomena and all knowledge simultaneously have

quantitative and qualitative dimensions. Thus, both methods should be used to describe and

explain phenomena that occur in the real world (Ercikan & Roth, 2006), examine a research

question from different aspects and provide more comprehensive answers to research questions.

For example, if we decide to examine how the alumni of the MET program perceive the impact

of their participation in the program on their professional careers, our primary research question

would be: How do the alumni of the MET program perceive the impact of their participation?

To develop a complete understanding of the alumnis perceptions and to get a reliable final

result, quantitative method would be used to measure the extent of the impact and qualitative

method would be used to describe individual perceptions of the impact. In this integrated

approach, qualitative data analysis provides descriptions of the phenomenon from the perspective

of the participants, whereas quantitative data analysis provides evidence to support or disconfirm

theories of the phenomenon developed by the researchers (Jamie DeCoster & Bronwen

Lichtenstein, 2007). An approach that uses quantitative and qualitative methods accomplishes a

goal that could not be reached by either method individually: it enriches the analytical strengths

of both methods and contributes to overall research approach.

Furthermore, well-integrated collaborations among researchers trained in different modes

of inquiry create meaningful findings, focus on implementation and inferences (Ercikan & Roth,

2006) and provide an opportunity for a greater assortment of divergent and/or complementary

views (Teddlie and Tashakkori 2003, 2009), which may not happen if only one type of data is

collected and analyzed. For example, in the study of disabled youths experiences of activity

settings (Gibson et al., 2014), researchers simultaneously combined a number of diverse data

collection methods: standardized questionnaires, qualitative methods (observational methods,

electronic interviews, semi-structured face-to-face interviews ) and physiological measures. The

experience assisted researchers in developing joint data integration and interpretation

approaches. The received data provide a much fuller picture of activity setting experiences than

any one method used alone.

In addition to the direct benefits to addressing individual research questions, integrative

approaches also bring the researchers trained in quantitative and qualitative closer together. To

collaborate on a project, qualitative and quantitative researchers will have to have a basic

familiarity with all methods. This will lead to a more comprehensive understanding of the topic

and better choices in data sources, data construction and analysis methods that best fit their

research questions and, as a result, to research that focuses on meaning, implementation and

inferences (Ercikan & Roth, 2006).



DeCoster, J., & Lichtenstein, B. (2007). Integrating quantitative and qualitative methods in

communication research. Communication Methods and Measures, 1(4), 227-242.

Denzin, N. K. (2009). The elephant in the living room: or extending the conversation about the

politics of evidence. Qualitative Research, 9(2) 139160.

Ercikan, K., & Roth, W-M. (2006). What good is polarizing research into qualitative and

quantitative? Educational Researcher, 35, 14-23.

Gibson, B. E., King, G., Kushki, A., Mistry, B., Thompson, L., Teachman, G., ... & McMain-

Klein, M. (2014). A multi-method approach to studying activity setting participation:

integrating standardized questionnaires, qualitative methods and physiological

measures. Disability and rehabilitation,36(19), 1652-1660.

Smith, John K. and Hodkinson, Phil (2005) Relativism, Criteria and Politics, in N.K. Denzin

and Y.S. Lincoln (eds), Handbook of Qualitative Research (3rd Edition), pp. 91532.

Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Teddlie, C. and Tashakkori, A. (2003) Major Issues and Controversies in the Use of Mixed

Methods in the Social and behavioural Sciences, in A. Tashakkori and Denzin: The

elephant in the living room 159 Downloaded from at University of

British Columbia Library on March 20, 2016 160 C. Teddlie (eds), Handbook of Mixed-

Methods in Social and Behavioral Research, pp. 350. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Teddlie, C., & Tashakkori, A. (Eds.). (2009). Foundations of mixed methods research:

Integrating quantitative and qualitative approaches in the social and behavioral sciences.

Sage Publications Inc.