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Health, social work, education and other social activities are considered as social sciences and fields of practice because they influence peoples lives every day (Merriam 2009). Due to humans curiosity and eager to learn, we choose to discover and learning more about ones practice rather than improving ones practice. Through qualitative research, it can leading us to ask more researchable question, not only find the solution, but also discover why it happen and how to overcome it
Definition of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is specific relevance to the study of social relations, due to the fact of the diversification of life worlds. According to Hennink (2010), qualitative research is a broad umbrella term that covers a wide range of techniques and philosophies. It can examine peoples experiences in details, by using a specific set of research methods such as focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, visual methods, observations, content analysis and life histories or biographies. One of the distinctive features of qualitative research is to identify the issue from the perspective of study participants. Through interpretation, understand the meanings that towards the behavior, events and objects. The skill of qualitative researcher must be expert so that they can extract the information and meaning form the given data, convert them into useful information such as report or presentation.
Tools of Qualitative Research
In-depth interviews are open-ended and guided discussion that involves conducting thorough individual interviews with a small number of respondents. The main objective is to discover their perspectives on a particular situation, idea and program (Boyce 2006). In-depth interviews are used to explore and understand about a persons thoughts, ideas and behaviours. Through interview, information and outcome data can be obtained, thus understanding what happen in a specific program and why it happened.
When to use?
In-depth interviews can be used when making complementary method strategy to a survey. Researchers had to develop techniques and strategies for working with groups of children and young people. In addition, in-depth interviews will be the best if someone are interested in individual information which regarding several topics of interest that can be attained only through an informal conversation alone with the child informant.
When not to use?
As long as the interview person is children, it is important to treat them as active participants, rather than mere respondents. It is essential to give them the opportunity to explain their responses in the interviewing process. Their emotion must be concern, so that they will not feel like been force giving the right answer.
Advantages and disadvantages of In-depth Interviews
The primary advantage of in-depth interviews is that much comprehensive information can be obtained through other data collection methods such as surveys. Survey can create a friendly environment for people to fill out their ideas and thought, thus the results and feedbacks can be obtained more easily and accurately. The secondary advantage of in-depth interviews is to allow interviewers to understand deeper with the participant, and gain more extra knowledge and insight than focus group. Thirdly, the faster process had become one advantage of in-depth interviews. In-depth interviews can enable the recruiting and scheduling process easier and faster.
However, there are disadvantages that exist in in-depth interview like the challenges in training interviewers. In order to make the person feel comfortable and interested about the topic they saying, interviewers must use effective interview techniques like body language and friendly speaking. It is difficult to train out a well interviewers since rather than knowledge, experience can bring an absolutely advantages to their career. Besides, in-depth interviews are not common. This happens when in-depth interviews are conducted; generalizations about the results are usually not able to be made due to the small samples chosen and random sampling method.
Focus Groups Research
A focus group is a moderated discussion with a group of participants which led by a trained moderator. Normally, the size of the group relies on the target audience and mode. While focus groups have previously been held in face to face and conducted virtually using web-conferencing, teleconferencing, or other online collaboration tools. Generally, focus groups are used when the research objectives accomplished through a forceful discussion and sharing of ideas among participants. The focus group interviews are widely used in many advertising. Therefore, focus groups are very important qualitative research technique to use and deserve considerable discussion.
When to use?
The focus groups are used by the organizations to collect customer insight into current or prospective ideas, services and products. Rather than that, customer service, product development strategy and marketing use focus group interviews to define their goals and missions. Focus group research is used when a survey had reached its imitations on the number and type of questions asked. Due to its exploratory nature, focus-group research can inspire discussion about the ideas havent been develop or topics that are not included in the discussion.
When not to use?
The focus groups research is not suggested to use when making the major marketing or budgetary decisions. Focus group can provide wealth of consumer ideas, perception and tendencies; however, the sample sizes given are too small to yield. It may caused the best decision been influence by those data due to uncertainly hypothesis.
Advantages and disadvantages of focus groups interviews
The greater flexibility of focus group interviews had formed the advantages. It is outstanding when compared with the structured and stiff survey format (Bogdan 1992). Besides, many topics can be discussed and many insights can be gained, particularly with regard to the variations in consumer behaviour in different situations. Another advantage of focus group interviews is can be done quickly. By going through focus group interviews, the researcher can directly interact with the participants. The researcher can obtain the information quicker from the participants non-verbal response such as body languages. Therefore, the outcome can be easier to analyse and come out with an idea result rather than complicated statistical data.
The primary disadvantages of focus groups interview is required objective, objective, sensitive and effective moderators. Most of the topics are difficult for mediator to remain the completely objective. Moreover, the mediator need to face the difficulties to make sure all the respondents feel comfortable, and giving their opinions. The second disadvantages of focus groups interview is difficult to use for sensitive topics. A focus group is a social setting which involves people with little familiarity to each other. Therefore, issues that people normally do not like to discuss in public may also prove difficult to discuss in a focus group. The third disadvantages of focus groups interview would be the expensive cost of money. As research projects processing, many costly approaches existing including a full-blown mail survey using a national random sample. Lots of money will be use to conduct analyze and disseminate the results.
Quantitative research defined as explaining phenomena by collecting numerical data that are analyzed by using mathematically based method in particular statistics. Quantitative research is used to test hypothesis or specific research questions (Daniel 2011). For example, developing valid survey measures requires first a deep understanding of the concept to be measured and a description of the way these ideas are expressed in everyday language.
Advantages and Disadvantages of quantitative research
The advantages of quantitative research are that the result is statistically reliable. Quantitative research can reliably determine whether one concept, idea, product, package and so on (Richard 2007). In addition, the results of quantitative research are projectable to populations.
The disadvantages of quantitative research are that the issue is only measured if they are known prior to the beginning of the survey. Quantitative research is more appropriate when the issue to be tested is known and the language used by the consumers to describe the issue is known.
Tools of Quantitative Research
Most of the useful tools of quantitative research are online survey. Online surveys can determine the general values from specific populations in a short time. Besides, it can reduce the cost to the client if used it wisely. As the time longer, the quality of data obtain can be more precious and consistent since the amount of data obtain is huge.
Telephone surveys is one of the good tools for meeting desired quota sizes for a targeted group, and have a high achievement rate in predicting opinions of the population.
A questionnaire is a nice practical survey which can obtained large amounts of information in a short period of time in a relatively cost effective way. It can be carried out by the researcher or by any number of people with limited affect to its validity and reliability. Besides, the results from the questionnaires are easily quantified by a researcher through the use of software.
When to use quantitative research?
Quantitative research is used to conduct audience segmentation by dividing the population into groups whose members are similar to each other and distinct from other group (Creswell 1994). Besides that, it is also used to estimate the size of a spectators segment as a follow-up step to a qualitative study to count and verify data obtained from qualitative study. Rather than that, quantitative research is also useful in enumerate opinions behaviours and attitudes.
When not to use quantitative research?
The quantitative research is not suitable to use when want to explore a problem in depth. What quantitative methods cannot do very well is to develop hypotheses and theories. Therefore, we need to go for ethnographic methods, interviews, in-depth case studies and other qualitative techniques for the testing of theories and hypotheses instead of using quantitative research.
Example of qualitative and quantitative research
Researchers can conduct the qualitative research by using focus groups method. By using focus group methods, researcher can able to interviewing the groups by observing about an issue, find out what they think about a product or an advertisement. For example, create an advertisement about quit smoking, and interviews the opinion of a group of smokers.
The example of quantitative research can be set as questionnaire relate to consumers would rather online shopping or actual shopping. Post the questionnaire question on media like Facebook or Twitter. Large amount of feedback can be obtained because due to the wide variety of media, and responders.