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limitations qualitative quantitative research method ways qualitative quantitative data analysed. Discuss a case study a company a specific sector choice.
The success of the process of conducting research is largely based on the methods used to gather the information and the interpretation of resources available. In order to achieve a high degree of accuracy as well as to guarantee the substantial nature of the research process, the use of special research methods such as the quantitative and qualitative analysis is vital. However, these two methods have both advantages and limitations and, depending on the way in which these methods are used, they can provide various results.
The present paper considers the two methods of analysis as applied to a case study. In the first part, it discusses the two methods from a theoretical point-of-view. Quantitative and qualitative research are rather different in the sense that they provide different perspectives of analysis: while quantitative research focuses on providing information that supports a pre-established theory, qualitative research gathers all type of information, from as many sources as possible and taking into account as many perspectives as necessary to ensure a holistic approach to the subject, and then elaborates a theory based on interpretation of information acquired and their establishment into a coherent background. Examples for both types of research will be provided to better illustrate the way in which the two can be utilized and their shortcomings and strengths. In this sense, for quantitative research, the case of Greece accession into the Eurozone is essential to point out the role statistics, as a crucial resource of information for quantitative research can be taken into account and if not considered properly, provide a different result that the real one. For qualitative research, the case of Sudan, as one of the largest countries in the world, is significant to point out that without a holistic research conducted on the issue, an interpretation can lead to mixed conclusions or theories, reason for which it is crucial to have as many information and knowledge as possible to avoid misinterpretation and thus limit the effects of subjective analysis and research.
The second part of the paper, these two methods are used to provide an applied case study in order to point out that depending on circumstances, the two methods of research are prone to failure if the information gathering process is flawed.
Part one: quantitative and qualitative methods of research
Quantitative method of research
There are many definitions to point out the most important aspects of quantitative research. One academic definition considers "Quantitative research is an inquiry into an identified problem, based on testing a theory, measured with numbers, and analyzed using statistical techniques. The goal of quantitative methods is to determine whether the predictive generalizations of a theory hold true." (Creswell, 1994) There are several aspects to be taken into consideration in this definition. On the first hand, quantitative research considers the issue of research based on an already established theory that needs verification or data input. In this case, quantitative research views the research process as a means of gathering information with an already path set and a direction based on a theory that needs enforcement.
On the other hand, the use of quantitative methods of research take into account a more objective environment, in most cases an analysis of the data that can be verified and not necessarily interpretable. More precisely, "Quantitative research is empirical research where the data are in the form of numbers." (Hughes, 2012) Therefore, at the same time, the means and working tools for quantitative research most often are the statistics available. This type of research is much more objective in nature largely because it aims to provide information that is not mediated by interpretation of human experience. It tends to reflect the actual nature of the data available and the numbers usually are constructed in the form of statistics.
An important aspect that needs to be taken into account when discussing the issue of quantitative analysis is related to the actual purpose of the utilization of this method. Clearly, when making use of one method or another, the results may appear to be different. More so, when communicating information gathered or acquired through quantitative analysis, although the information may be correct, they can be tailored in such a manner as to suit a particular purpose.
The fact that quantitative research is related to a pre-ordained theory is essential. More precisely, statistics about different areas of a national economy for instance can be gathered in such a manner as to ensure a certain result without deviating from the accuracy of the information. This is largely due to the fact that, as in most cases, information can be analyzed separately and independent or other data in order to suit a certain purpose. A clear example in this sense is the admission of Greece in the Eurozone in 1999 based on faulty statistical information. More precisely, the issues raised after the discovery of the misinterpretation of the Greek statistical information were related to the way in which data was collected and interpreted. In this sense, "Greece's faulty figures have provoked a debate in Brussels over the power that should be given to the EU's statistical agency, Eurostat, to check financial data declared by governments. Big countries, including the UK, are resisting efforts to give the agency new, supervisory, powers over national statistical bodies." (Howden and Castle, n.d.) This is not to say that the Greek government provided false information to Eurostat, the European statistical body, but that, taken separately, statistical information can serve one purpose or another.
A crucial element in a proper construction of a quantitative research process is related to the actual process of data collection. In this sense, there are several aspects to take into account in order to avoid the use of this method in a tailored made fashion. More precisely, in order to determine a clear objective nature of the research process, the research and process in itself must consider multiple indicators largely because "Single indicators may incorrectly classify many individuals/firms; single indicators may capture only a portion of the underlying concept or be too general; multiple indicators can make finer distinctions between individuals/firms; multiple indicators can capture different dimensions of a concept." (Week 6, Quantitative research, 2012) More precisely, this aspect can be translated into considering more sides of one issue. That is, for instance, when analyzing the unemployment rate of a country, and in particular of European countries, the research conducted must take into account both the statistics that point out the current unemployed population that benefits at the time of the research of unemployment assistance as well as the population or individuals that no longer benefit from unemployment aid but are still without a job. These two indicators may provide a more accurate account of the actual unemployment rate in one country.
Qualitative methods of research
By comparison, qualitative research is of a more complex nature. In this sense, "qualitative process of inquiry has the goal of understanding a social or human problem from multiple perspectives. Qualitative research is conducted in a natural setting and involves a process of building a complex and holistic picture of the phenomenon of interest." (Mason, 1996) As in the previous section, there are certain aspects to be taken into account. Therefore, on the one hand, it must be pointed out that the research process in itself is lengthier and more complex through the actual information that can be identified as input for the research. There are more information needed in order to conduct a qualitative research simply because this type of research needs to take into account a more varied number of perspectives. Compared to the quantitative research method which takes into account only the information needed to support a pre-defined theory, the qualitative research develops a theory as a result of the research.
On the other hand, the success and efficiency of the research process is determined by numerous aspects, which are determined by the variety of the resources and perspectives analyzed. At the same time, the complex nature of the research process is also provided by the combination of different factors that do not take into account only numbers and statistics but rather consider a linkage and interdependent nature between different aspects of research. More precisely, the qualitative research is a multifaceted process because it follows on a combination of items. These include, "Inductive view of relationship between theory and research; theories and concepts emerge from the data; Interpretivist epistemology; Constructionist ontology; Emphasis on words/text rather than numbers; Diversity of approaches." (Week 4, Qualitative research design, 2012)
One of the most important aspects to be considered in discussing the issue of qualitative research is the role played by interpretation in the process. In this sense, "Qualitative research, on the other hand, is concerned with collecting and analyzing information in as many forms, chiefly non-numeric, as possible. It tends to focus on exploring, in as…[continue]
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