Advantages And Disadvantages Of Quantitative Research Psychology Essay
This chapter aims to describe the research methodology used in this study. The discussion initially focuses on some of the academic aspects relevant to research and its types, whereas, subsequently, pertinent research methodology used in this study will be discussed in detail.
3.1 Meanings of Research and Types of Research Methodologies
Research can be defined as "the process of collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data in order to understand a phenomenon" Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. (2001 cited in Williams, C. 2007). Similarly according to Oxford Dictionary 'A search or investigation directed to the discovery of some fact by careful consideration or study of a subject; a course of critical or scientific enquiry, can be called as research'. Thus, research can be argued as a systematic and well planned investigation for the purpose of exploring answers to various questions. In the same context research methodology can be defined as "the general approach the researcher takes in carrying out the research project" Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. (2001 p.14). Hence, the research methodology in the context of this study will provide a plan to investigate the given research problem within the specified frameworks.
Broadly, the commonly used approaches for research can be categorized into quantitative, qualitative and mixed methodologies (Williams, C. 2007). Researchers typically select the quantitative approach to respond to research questions requiring numerical data, the qualitative approach for research questions requiring textural data, and the mixed methods approach for research questions requiring both numerical and textural data". A brief introduction of these methodologies is given in the following paragraphs:
3.2 Quantitative Research
According to (Williams, C. 2007) the Quantitative research was emerged in or around 1250 A.D to facilitate researchers in the analysis through quantification of data. Since then the same has overwhelmingly dominated the western cultural as the most frequently used research pattern for the creation of meanings and new knowledge. In the same context (Creswell, J. 2003 p.18) states that quantitative research "employ strategies of inquiry such as experimental and surveys, and collect data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data. The findings from quantitative research can be predictive, explanatory, and confirming. It involves the collection of data so that information can be quantified and subjected to statistical treatment in order to support or refute alternate knowledge claims". Thus quantitative research techniques are used to gather data/information from different reliable sources, which deal with numbers, statistics, charts, graphs and tables etc. The quantitative research can of different natures. In this context according to (Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. 2001) "There are three broad classifications of quantitative research: descriptive, experimental and causal comparative". Descriptive research involves identification of attributes of a particular phenomenon, where as experimental approach deals with investigates the treatment of an intervention into the study group and then measures the outcomes of the treatment. In comparative approach, the researcher examines the relationships between the variables.
A brief comparison of distinct advantages and disadvantages of this research method is as under:
Advantages and disadvantages of Quantitative research
Advantages of Quantitative Research
Disadvantages of Quantitative Research
It is objective and can be measured so that comparisons can be made.
Findings can be biased by researchers' perspective. Researchers must therefore try to keep a 'distance' from their subjects - they can use subjects unknown to them and should make no attempt to get to know their subjects other than to collect data from them.
Methods, if explained in detail are generally very easy to replicate and so have a high reliability.
Research often takes place in an unnatural setting - the researchers create an artificial environment in an attempt to control all relevant variables. So, how sure can they be that the results which they obtain in the laboratory will also apply in the real world?
Results can be reduced to a few numerical statistics and interpreted in a few short statements.
Provides narrow, unrealistic information using measures which capture only a tiny proportion of the concept originally under study. This provokes a question of whether the research actually measures what the researcher claims it does. Hence, quantitative research has a low validity.
It can provide information about program stakeholders who were overlooked initially.
The results of quantitative research may be statistically significant but are often humanly insignificant. 'Some things which are numerically precise are not true; and some things which are not numerical are true.'
The use of a survey instrument that collects data from all program stakeholders in the study may serve to correct the qualitative research problem of collecting data only from an elite group within the system being studies.
Uses a static and rigid approach and so employs an inflexible process.
Using quantitative assessment can correct for the "holistic fallacy" (the perception by the researcher that all aspects of a given situation are congruent, when in fact only those persons interviewed by the researcher may have held that particular view). Also the use of quantitative instruments can verify observations collected during informal field observations.
Quantitative methods are simplifications of the qualitative methods and can only be meaningfully employed when qualitative methods have shown that a simplification of identified relations is possible.
Research Methods (n.d) [online] Available at:
3.3 Qualitative research:
Williams, C. (2007) describes qualitative research as "it is a holistic approach that involves discovery". Qualitative research is also described as an unfolding model that occurs in a natural setting that enables the researcher to develop a level of detail from high involvement in the actual experiences (Creswell, J. W. 1994). Bryman, A. (2001) defines qualitative research as a "strategy that usually emphasizes words, feelings, perception, rather than quantification in the collection and analysis of data. It is intuitivist, constructionist, and interpretive, but qualitative researchers do not always subscribe to all three of these features.....Qualitative Research tends to be concerned with words rather than numbers".
Several writers identified the features of qualitative research. Some of these cited in (Hoepfl, C. M. 1997) are as under
1. Qualitative research uses the natural setting as the source of data.
2. The researcher acts as the "human instrument" of data collection.
3. Qualitative researchers predominantly use inductive data analysis.
4. Qualitative research reports are descriptive, incorporating expressive
5. Qualitative research has an interpretive character, aimed at discovering
the meaning events have for the individuals who experience them, and
the interpretations of those meanings by the researcher.
6. Qualitative researchers pay attention to the idiosyncratic as well as the
pervasive, seeking the uniqueness of each case.
7. Qualitative research has an emergent (as opposed to predetermined)
design, and researchers focus on this emerging process as well as the
outcomes or product of the research.
8. Qualitative research is judged using special criteria for trustworthiness.
There are several different methods for conducting a qualitative research; however, Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. (2001) recommend the following five: Case studies, grounded theory, ethnography, content analysis, and phenomenological. Creswell, J. (2003) defines that how these methods meet different needs. "For instance, case studies and the grounded theory research explore processes, activities, and events while ethnographic research analyses broad cultural-sharing behaviors of individuals or groups. Case studies as well as phenomenology can be used to study individuals".
3.4 Grounded theory approach:
In recent times, grounded theory approach has been very popular among social researchers engaged with small-scale research. (Allan, G. 2003) Stated that "Grounded Theory is a powerful research method for collecting and analysing research data. It was 'discovered' by (Glaser & Strauss 1967) in the 1960s". (Williams, C. 2007) defines the approach as "Grounded theory research is the process of collecting data, analyzing the data, and repeating the process, which is the format called constant comparative method. The data can be obtained from several sources such as interviewing participants or witnesses, reviewing historical videotapes or records, observations while on-site".
According to (Glaser and Strauss 1967, p.237) cited in (Douglas, D. 2003). there are four requirements for judging a good grounded theory as follows.
Fit (does the theory fit the substantive area in which it will be used?)
We can say that it is difficult to fit grounded theory in our subject area because of data compulsions and varying defence expenditure of all countries in the world.
Understandability (will non-professionals concerned with the substantive area understand the theory?
Because of confusion in the coding method, it is difficult to understand for non-professionals.
Generalisability (does the theory apply to a wide range of situations in the substantive area?)
As there is no general model of defence expenditures and it depends on the peace and war conditions of every country. So we can conclude that it is difficult to generalize it.
Control (does the theory allow the user some control over the "structure and process of daily situations as they change through time?")
It can be concluded that one cannot implement this theory on daily changing situations; hence theory gives no control to its users.
Grounded theory has many limitations/Criticism as follows:
Allan, G. (2003) stated that "The technique of coding by using Micro-analysis of data is difficult because of two reasons: firstly, it is very time consuming. Secondly, this method led to confusion, when divide the data into individual words".
To scale the larger concepts by using grounded theory is much difficult.
Another criticism pointed out by Allan, G. (2003) is that "Grounded theory is a lack of rigour due to careless interview techniques and the introduction of bias".
In coding procedure actual meaning of the data may lose or disconnected.
It is difficult in grounded theory analysis to present a wide picture because it is detailed procedure
Advantages and disadvantages of Qualitative research:
Provides depth and detail
Fewer people studied usually. Less easily generalised as a result.
Openness - can generate new theories and recognize phenomena ignored by most or previous researchers and literature.
Difficult to aggregate data and make systematic comparisons.
Helps people to see the world view of those studies - their categories, rather than imposing categories, simulates their experience of the world.
Dependent upon researcher's personal attributes and skills (also true with quantitative, but not as easy to evaluate their skills in conducting research with qualitative).
Attempts to avoid pre-judgments
Participation in setting can always change the social situation (although not participating can always change the social situation as well).
It allows the researcher to describe existing phenomena and current situations.
It can be very subjective as the researcher often includes personal experience and insight as part of the relevant data thus making complete objectivity an impossibility.
It is useful in examining the totality of a unit - a holistic approach.
It has a very low reliability in that it is extremely difficult to replicate a piece of qualitative research due to the fact that it does not have a structured design or a standardized procedure.
It yields results that can be helpful in pioneering new ground.
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3.5 Mixed methods:
Tashakkori, A. and Teddlie, C. (2003) "discussed the mixed methods approach to research, which emerged in the mid-to-late 1900s". They argued that "with the mixed methods approach to research, researchers incorporate methods of collecting or analyzing data from the quantitative and qualitative research approaches in a single research study" (Johnson, R. B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. 2004). Similarly, according to (Parse, R 2003) the "Qualitative and quantitative research approaches are different in their ontologies, epistemologies, and methodologies, yet there are also exists similarities in both. They are alike in that when conducted according to appropriate designs; both inquiry approaches answer research questions that arise from the researchers' interests which are a reflection of beliefs and values. Also, both approaches elicit evidence that enhances understanding of the phenomena under study".
Thus in case of mixed methods; researcher collects and analyzes the statistical data as well as narrative data, which is norm for quantitative research and qualitative research respectively in order to address the selected research questions. (Johnson, R. B. & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. 2004) opines that "the goal for researchers using the mixed methods approach to research is to draw from the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of the quantitative and qualitative research approaches". (Williams, C. 2007) concluded that "the mixed methods approach to research provides researchers with the ability to design a single research study that answers questions about both the complex nature of phenomenon from the participantsâ€Ÿ point of view and the relationship between measurable variables".
3.6 Reliability and Validity
The validity and reliability of numerical/statistical data is important to conclude efficient results. In this context (Leedy, P. and Ormrod, J. 2001) argues that "validity and reliability are important components that affect correlation coefficients". To understand the meaning of reliability and validity, it is important to present the different definitions of reliability and validity as under.
According to Bryman, A. and Bell, E. (2007) reliability means "whether or not the results of a study are repeatable." Similarly, Joppe, M. (2000 p.1 cited in Golafshani, N. 2003) defines reliability in quantitative research as "â€¦The extent to which results are consistent over time and an accurate representation of the total population under study is referred to as reliability and if the results of a study can be reproduced under a similar methodology, then the research instrument is considered to be reliable". Miles, M. B., and A. M. Huberman (1994 cited in Meyer, C. B. 2001) stated that "Reliability focuses on whether the process of the study is consistent and reasonably stable over time and across researchers and methods.
Joppe, M. (2000 p.1 cited in Golafshani, N. 2003) provides the explanation of what validity is in quantitative research as "Validity determines whether the research truly measures that which it was intended to measure or how truthful the research results are". Similarly according to (Bashir, M., et. al. 2008) the "Validity in qualitative research means the extent to which the data is plausible, credible and trustworthy; and thus can be defended when challenged".
Meyer, C. B. (2001) writes that "The problem with the validity criteria suggested in qualitative research is that there is little consistency across the articles as each author suggests a new set of criteria". And "the problem of reliability in qualitative research is that differences between replicated studies using different researchers are to be expected".
The purpose of validity and reliability of the information will be ensured in this piece of work through previous studies/reports and reliable data bases i.e. Sipri yearbooks data, HDI official site data, data from OECE publications, UN data base and data from India/Pakistan budget.
'Triangulation' is used in qualitative research to improve the validity and reliability which involve the use of more than one research technique within a single study. In this context Patton (2001 p. 247 cited in Golafshani, N. 2003) advocates the use of triangulation by stating "triangulation strengthens a study by combining methods. This can mean using several kinds of methods or data, including using both quantitative and qualitative approaches".
Denzin, N.K. and Lincoln, Y.S. (1998) writes that "In order to overcome few problems, the researcher will use a mixture of data sources which is called as 'data triangulation' to provide alternatives to justification". This will help to increase the scope, depth and consistency in methodological proceedings (Flick, U. 2002). There are several methods of triangulation as (Burns, R.B. 2000 p. 420) describes various triangulation methods like "Environmental Triangulation, Investigator Triangulation, Theoretical Triangulation and Combined level of Triangulation". (Golafshani, N. 2003) stated that "Triangulation is typically a strategy (test) for improving the validity and reliability of research or evaluation of findings. (Mathison, S. 1988 p.13) elaborates this by saying that "Triangulation has risen an important methodological issue in naturalistic and qualitative approaches to evaluation [in order to] control bias and establishing valid propositions because traditional scientific techniques are incompatible with this alternate epistemology". The employment of qualitative techniques with triangulation would help increase the validity and reliability of this piece of research where appropriate.
3.8 Primary Data
The primary data is the type of data which is collected by the researcher for the specific purpose of answering the problem on hand. In other words the data observed or collected directly from firsthand experience is called primary data. Primary data can be gathered by different methods i.e. communication, interacting with respondents, observation methods, surveys, interviews, or through questionnaire. David, A. et al. (2003) stated that "The main advantage of this type of data is that the data collected is for a specific purpose and tailored for the problem". More so one can gather un- biased and original data from this method. The main disadvantages of this method are: it may be costly, raw data, huge volume of population, large volume of data and time consuming. Questionnaires Survey is the common method conduct to collect primary data.
3.9 Secondary Data
Secondary data come from studies previously performed by government agencies, trade associations, chambers of commerce and other organizations. Secondary data can also be found in local libraries, on the Web, books, government publications, periodicals as well as electronic databases, magazines and newspapers, are also great sources of secondary data. Good marketing research should always start with secondary data. This data and information that already exist (Naresh, K. M. et. al. 2006). One of the advantages of secondary data is that it is often cheaper than doing primary research. In this context Morgan, D.L. (1993) argued that "The advantages of secondary research is that it can be much quicker and cheaper to access, where many companies may not able to have the resources to carry the research". Another advantage of the existing data is that its saves time. Gilbert A., Churchill, Jr. (1995) has written that "The most significant advantages of secondary data are the cost and time economies they offer".
3.10 The Research Paradigm for this Study
According to Anderson (2004), the research methodologies can be broadly classified in to two types i.e. positivist and interpretive. Keeping in view the nature of this research the suggested methodology to be adopted is an interpretive one, as the data collection will involve the recording of the human emotions and feelings rather than the statistics and number. Research methodology for primary and secondary data is as follows;
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Case study approach
Adopting the case study approach to the research is very useful in this research study because conclusions based on data collected. This approach will reveal critical analysis of recruitment and selection process as tool of diversity management .in the public sector organization in Pakistan, Yin (2002) suggests that the approach of case studies is very relevant if the researcher wants different sources of information not the single sources of information used to carry out the research. That's exactly what this study attempts to achieve different aspects of recruitment and selection process as a tool of diversity management in public sector organization in PakistanListen.Read phoneticallÂ
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3.12 Approaching the organization and collection of data
The main reason for choosing this topic is the fact that the author was an international student in London during the research. This allowed the author to carry out research on the public sector organization is one of the well known organizations in Pakistan, a country which belongs to the author. This allowed the author to conduct a comprehensive study on public sector organization.
3.13 Data Collection
This is the second step in the search that once select the research problem has been chosen as the target organizations. William and Lisa (2006) states that the use of different sources to get data and the information from one approach was not discussed in an alternative approach.
Two main sources of information primary and secondary data have been used to fulfill the requirements of this research.Â The main source of primary data for this study is represented in the interviews and questionnaires.Â Academic books, journals, articles magazines, newspapers, different libraries and electronic sources have been used including the British Library on the basis of secondary sources of information.
3.14 Primary Data
The primary data of this research is represented in Questionnaires and Semi-structured interviews with HR manager, employees concerns human resources management and candidates to the organisation. It is well known that the loss of respondents is high for questionnaires (Creswell, 1994). Therefore, it is important to clearly indicate the purpose of the interviews and the following questionnaire to participants before the interviews take place.
3.15 The Interviews
An interview questions can be done in form of structured questions, already in place in advance or unstructured or semi-structured in-depth interviews are generally used. The advantages of interviews with concerns people that the interviewer can ask lots of questions, at the same time, questions may be more complex in nature because they can be cleaned with indistinctness during the course of the interview, however, also disadvantages, especially when the respondent is affected by the interviewer (Denscombe, 1998). This may be aspects of class, gender, race or other biases. In addition, the researcher could expect to be questioned about some of the interview and thus respond in this way consider 'correct 'or 'acceptable. "The general problems associated with the conduct of interviews, it is tedious (Hussey & Hussey, 1997
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Another way to conduct interviews by phone, the problem is that the answers are more penetrating and detailed than ever as is the case when they are interviewed in person. As is the case with personal interviews that the meeting has the potential to obtain responses from the highest quality possible to do so. Important when it comes to telephone interviews is that they must be limited in time. Additionally, questions can be quite complex due to difficulties in capturing the interest of respondents when it is not the situation facing. Advantages can be fast and cheap and the interview has the potential to clarify issues.
To collect data for this study, face to face interviews and telephone interviews will be used. The interview with, HR managers and employees of the organization, everyone will be asked for their feedback in the process of recruitment and selection as a tool of diversity management evaluation. What are the main problems that employees face in this system?
The interview will be conducted from HR manager and more than five employees of concern organisation Will better understand the Employee feedback their comments on the benchmarking process and what improvements can be made. Feedback from managers and employees to help understand the objectives of the recruitment and selection evaluation process and make changes to improve the process.
3.16 The Questionnaire
At the end of interviews, questionnaires and the purpose of these questions will be given. This questionnaire consists of some of the biggest questions, divided into one part in several issues regarding recruitment and selection process as a tool of diversity management. What are the strategies and techniques are being used in concern department of human resources management to motivate and improve the process. In the end, respondents have the opportunity to write additional comments if they felt that something was overlooked during the interview or questionnaire.
3.17 Secondary Data
The source of printing means of secondary data for this research articles, journals, academic books, magazines and concern organization website. There are many references to the British Library by the author. In addition, the library will be also used in the Kensington College of Business and online library of university of Wales as well.
3.18 Population/Sample size
A total of seven interviews will be carried out to obtain primary data. Details of the interviews along with the important issues will be focused during the interviews are as under:
1. Senior HR manager of the federal public service commission will be interviewed and acquired data accordingly for the purpose of this research.
a. Candidates will be interviewed and nominations made by the Commission for various positions during the years 2004 to 2008.
b. Gender-Wise distribution of Vacancies.
c. Province / Region wise distribution of vacancies.
d. Comparative Performance of Candidates from different regions and backgrounds.
e. Gender wise marital status based configuration of candidates.
f Age group wise configuration of candidates.
g. Educational background based configuration.
h. Religion based configuration.
2. Three interviews of the candidates registered with FPSC for the competitive examinations for induction into public services of Pakistan. Each of the three subjects represented male, female and non Muslim candidates representing their respective communities in the country.
3. Three interviews of the employees in public services of Pakistan. Each of the three subjects represented male, female and non Muslim employees representing their respective communities in the country. Listen
3.19 Research Methodology Limitations:
Being case study, the research has the limitations of the generalization i.e. the findings and results of the same will remain organisational specific. Hence, its application to other scenarios of the same nature may not sound reasonable. Furthermore, the consistency factor will be quite low, being based on personal observations and perspectives, therefore the repetition of the same study may not yield the same results. The reliability aspects will also be quite sensitive, as the employees are not likely to express their opinion in a candid manner against their organisation.
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