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Strengths and weaknesses of clusters of research strategies

There are two distinctive clusters of research strategy where research can be carried despite out however there are some common differences between them and both strategies have their strengths and weakness. 

Qualitative methods permit the evaluator to study selected issues in great depth and detail without being constrained by predetermined categories of analysis contributes to the depth, openness, and detail of qualitative inquiry (Michael Quinn, Patton,1990).CHECK THIS ALAN IT IS NOT CLEAR Qualitative research attempts to comprehend behaviour and institutions by getting to know the persons involved, their values, beliefs and emotions. An example is studying on poverty by immersing oneself into the life of the poor rather by collecting data with a structured interview schedule. Qualitative research can be explained to gain an understanding of underlying reasons and motivations ,to provide insights into the setting of a problem, generating ideas and/or hypotheses for later quantitative research and find new trends.

On the other hand quantitative methods require the use of standardized measures so that the varying perspectives and experiences of people can fit into a limited number of predetermined response categories to which numbers are assigned. (Michael Quinn,Patton,1990). Thus quantitative research data is quantified, generalises  results from a sample of the population of interest, to measure the incidence of various views and opinions in a chosen sample.  Qualitative research is than used.

Common contrast as per Table I between quantitative and qualitative research

Table I

Quantitative

Qualitative

Numbers

Words

Point of view of Research

Points of view of participants

Research distant

Research close

Theory Testing

Theory emergent

Generalization

Contextual understanding

Hard, reliable data

Rich deep data

Macro

Micro

Static

Process

Structured

Unstructured

Behaviour

Meaning

Artificial settings

Natural settings

Alan Bryman,Emma Bell Business research methods 2003

Quantitative researchers are often preoccupied to applying measurement to social life while qualitative research uses words when presenting analyses of society.  In this type of research, the investigator is the main driving force.  His concerns are brought into the investigation and thus structure the investigation. In contrast, in  qualitative research the subjects under study, what is seen as important and relevant structures the research. In Quantitative research, researchers are not in contact with their r subjects for instance if  questionnaires or interviewers   are utilised  Some consider this aspect of research . On the other hand qualitative research entails close involvement with the subjects being investigated.  The researcher can fully understand the world through their subject's eyes. Moreover, quantitative research deals with theory and concepts which are tested in research while in qualitative aspect of research concepts emerge from data.

As to structure, quantitative research is highly structured as opposed to qualitative r. In the former researchers want findings to be generalised while qualitative research seek to understand behaviour and values. Quantitative research brings in hard data which is unambiguous because of its measurement precision while qualitative research produced produces rich data. Quantitative researchers are largely involved in discovering social patterns and trends while qualitative research investigates small scale aspects of social reality. Some argue that quantitative researchers are concerned with people behaviour and the qualitative researcher with the meaning of action. Another difference is that quantitative research is carried out in a contrived context while the other type investigates people in their everyday environment.  

In qualitative inquiry the researcher is the instrument and as such great attention should be made to the way he uses his knowledge and skill besides his training to carry out the fieldwork. In quantitative research validity depends on the correct measuring instruments and this should be carried out to prescribed procedures.

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