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Quantitative and Qualitative

Research Approaches
Lecture 4
Research Methods
Geog 316
JA Yaro

What is a research strategy


Research strategy means the general orientation
to the conduct of social research
A research strategy is a plan of action that
gives direction to your efforts, enabling you to
conduct research systematically rather than
haphazardly.
Quantitative research can be construed as the
research strategy that emphasizes quantification
in the collection and analysis of data numeracy
Qualitative research can be construed as the
research strategy that emphasizes
words/interpretation rather than quantification in
the collection and analysis of data

What is qualitative
research?
Concerned with words rather than numbers
Inductive view of the relationship between
theory and research
Adopts an interpretivist position
Stress is on the understanding of the social
world through an examination of the
interpretation of that world by its
participants
Constructionist in that social properties are
outcomes of the interactions between
individuals, rather than phenomena

Features of qualitative
research
Data can come in the form of words, images,
impressions, gestures, or tones which represent real
events
The word qualitative implies an emphasis on
process and an in-depth understanding of perceived
meanings, interpretations, and behaviors,
Qualitative data collection and analysis are labor
intensive
The general rule in qualitative research is that you
continue to sample until you are not getting any new
information or are no longer gaining new insights.

An outline of the main steps in qualitativ


1. General research
questions
2. Selecting research sites and
subjects
3. Collection of relevant data
5b. Collection of further data
4. Interpretation of data
5. Conceptual and theoretical
framework
5a. Tighter specification of the
research questions

6. Write up findings and


conclusions

When to use qualitative research


strategy
Used to study human behavior and behavior
changes
Study the variations of complex, human behavior in
context
Connecting quantitative data to behavior using
qualitative methods
Use qualitative methods to find patterns
Hypothesis-generating or testing
New area of research
Causes and effects
Exploratory study

WHAT IS QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH?


It is a formal, objective, systematic process in which
numerical data are utilised to obtain information
about the world
It exhibits a strong link between theory and research
Deductive with an objectivist conception of social
reality.
They pose the questions who, what, when, where,
how much, how many, how often?
Quantification is preoccupied with measurement,
causality, generalization and replication.
Data is hard, rigorous, credible, and scientific.
Quantitative research is rigid and formalised with
rules of strict practice.
Quantitative research provides snapshots of events

THE PROCESS OF QUANTITATIVE RESEAR


1 Theory or set of ideas
2 Hypotheses or set of concerns
3 Research design
4 Measures of concepts: operationalisation
5 Select research sites
6 Select respondents sampling
7 Questionnaire administration or collect data
8 Process data
9 Analyse data
10 Interpret data: findings and conclusion
11 Write up findings and conclusions

Figure 1. The process of quantitative research

Survey research

Describes a population- it counts and describes what is


out there.
It is an invaluable tool when primary data are required
about people, their behaviour, attitudes, and opinions
and their awareness of specific issues
Involves systematic observation or interviewing.
Extensive: Used to quickly and/or easily get lots of
information from people
The three most important considerations for the
surveyor are: speed, low cost, and increased accuracy
and analysis of the data.
Social scientists use the cross-sectional design, which
asks questions of people at one point in time.
Also longitudinal panel studies
Large-scale, small-scale, and cross-cultural studies
Survey research uses Questionnaires

Quantitative research differs from


qualitative research in the
following ways
The data is usually gathered using more
structured research instruments
The results provide less detail on behaviour,
attitudes and motivation
The results are based on larger sample sizes
that are representative of the population,
The research can usually be replicated or
repeated, given it high reliability; and
The analysis of the results is more objective.

Quantitative Mode
Assumptions

Social facts have an objective


reality
Primacy of method
Variables can be identified and
relationships measured
Etic (outside's point of view)

Purpose

Generalizability
Prediction
Causal explanations

Approach

Begins with hypotheses and


theories
Manipulation and control
Uses formal instruments
Experimentation
Deductive
Component analysis
Seeks consensus, the norm
Reduces data to numerical
indices
Abstract language in write-up

Researcher Role

Detachment and impartiality


Objective portrayal

Qualitative mode
Assumptions

Reality is socially constructed


Primacy of subject matter
Variables are complex, interwoven,
and difficult to measure
Emic (insider's point of view)

Purpose

Contextualization
Interpretation
Understanding actors' perspectives

Approach

Ends with hypotheses and grounded


theory
Emergence and portrayal
Researcher as instrument
Naturalistic
Inductive
Searches for patterns
Seeks pluralism, complexity
Makes minor use of numerical
indices
Descriptive write-up

Researcher Role

Personal involvement and partiality


Empathic understanding