Quantitative and Qualitative Methodologies

Sample Research Paper

Words 1,687

The researcher setting to conquer a new field of knowledge must make a series of decisions from the very beginning of the research that will determine what type of data – and answers – he or she will find. In most cases, the very first decision that a researcher must make in deciding to carry out a piece of research is the choice between qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Although there is no reason why the two cannot be combined to pursue creative and powerful research (an in fact the tendency to combine qualitative and quantitative methods is becoming more and more common) it remains the case that most researchers and therefore most pieces of research are based almost entirely upon either qualitative or quantitative work. The choice between these two is important because they reflect entirely different underlying epistemologies and research philosophies. The values of quantitative research and the ways in quantitative research might best be used are explored in this paper.

However, before plunging into the quantitative versus qualitative debate, it is important to note that while this is the primary dichotomy in the world of research design there are other splits in research philosophy that must also be considered. We shall briefly review these here because understanding the philosophy underlying various research methods is imperative if we are to create a research design that is fundamentally compatible with the research questions that are being posed by this research.

The choice of whether to use qualitative or quantitative methods (or primarily one or the other) is often based more on the personal epistemological preferences of the researcher rather than in the structure of the data or because of any other intrinsic aspect of the research.

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