The role of research methods knowledge and its benefits for social research is an area of debate and confusion since the beginning of the profession's inception (Austin, 1983). Central to this understanding is the broader context of social research as new found study areas. In social research, the knowledge of research methods helps in selecting appropriate method for a particular area of research as well the knowledge of strengths and weaknesses of particular methods can lead a researcher to choose combine methods and adopt strategies to address the weaknesses of a particular method. In this research report the author intends to describe advanced qualitative research method, theory, practical implications, ethical consideration as well as types of advances research methods, the importance and significance of employing qualitative research methods, the sampling procedures and data collection and analysis method. The study will help and influence the researchers the way to critically assess the information received from sources, research topics.
What is Research?
Research, as a source of knowledge, has many meaning today; particularly, research on educational practice. According to Borg and Gall (1989); "the purpose of educational research is to discover new knowledge about teaching, learning, administration and other educational phenomena" (p.15). Keeping the purpose of educational research in mind how is it that an educational researcher decides which process or method of inquiry to use in obtaining knowledge about educational phenomena? Normally, the traditional scientific method is used to discover new phenomena, but Borg and Gall (1989) mention that several developments have led educational researcher to question those methods and techniques:
One of these developments has been new ideas about the nature of scientific inquiry set forth by philosophers of science such as Thomas Kuhn. Another development was the increasing interest of educational researcher in the methods of scientific inquiry used in disciplines other than psychology. Another development was the increasing interest of educational researchers, with encouragement from practitioners, in phenomena not easily studied using traditional research methodology. (p.16)
These developments have brought the re-examination of the nature of scientific inquiry by educational researchers. According to Mannoia (1980), the activity of science is not some secret set of rules which, when properly applied, automatically and mechanically produce theories; but, it does involve a certain mechanical character and it does include methodical attention to observations in seeing the problems and doing experiments. He adds that progress in science means choosing, on occasion, between competing, alternative theories. Mannoia (1980) describes the controversy which lies at the heart of scientific development. It is not a conflict of objective reason vs. dogmatic faith, but rather a conflict of one set of assumptions with another in an arena of powerful personal and social factors. For much of the twentieth century, a social and educational inquiry was, and, in many institutions, is still, based on developments in the natural sciences.
According to Smith (1993), researchers in the social sciences and education may be members of any number of groups with strong views on what constitutes research. Some social scientists believe a research methodology is considered rigorous if it is suited to the problem under analysis, is implemented with objectivity, allows replication by other social scientists, and contributes to the theory development process of social science. Many in the empiricist and post empiricist camps would agree with that statement. But, in recent years, the development of solutions for pressing social needs has brought about the use of alternative theoretical paradigms, particularly critical theory
The importance of Methodology in Research
A research methodology is a model, which engages a theory which offers guiding principle for a particular research plan in the context of a specirid philosophy. Simply we can say that, methodology is an explanation of model into research language and plainly shows how the research can be completed in a professional manner. Methods refer to the tools required by researchers to collect primary data. "Methods are needed because they provide the instructions to produce a complete piece of research. Decisions have to be made about which methods are best for particular purposes and then data collecting instruments must be designed to do the research" (Bell, 1997, p 33).
The widely held belief about research methods is exists that methods courses should retain a singular focus on social studies methods, such as "inquiry, immersion, small group discussion, and problem solving, cooperative learning, simulation, role playing, storytelling, guided fantasy, modelling, demonstration, historical investigation, research, creating, and reflecting" (Fresch 2003, p. 70).
"A research design is simply the design or plan for a study used as a guide in collecting and analyzing data. It is the blue print that is followed in completing a study" (Churchill, 1988, p 108). Zikmund (2000, p 65) defined research design as "a master plan that specifies the methods and procedures for collecting and analyzing needed information." (p 65)
Creswell (2009) argue that researchers should make clear the well-built theoretical ideas they hold, according to him, "this disclosure helps to explain their choice of research method" (p. 5).
Usually researchers are concerned largely with finding solutions to the research problems, for thus they need to utilize a pragmatic theoretical framework. Pragmatists are most concerned with "what works" and, to them, the most important aspect of the research study is to "understand the problem; therefore pragmatic researchers often use a variety of research methods to achieve this goal" (Creswell, 2003, p. 11). Quantitative research method engages experiential explanation, resolutions, dimensions and theory confirmation (Creswell, 2009). Holton and Burnett (2005) pointed out that "one of the strong points of quantitative research method is its capability to give inferable conclusion from a small representative sample" (p. 32).
According to Creswell (2003) "pragmatism opens the door to multiple methods, different world views and different assumptions, as well as to different forms of data collection and analysis in the mixed methods study" (p. 12). According to him, "pragmatism provides a basis for the following knowledge claims. Pragmatism is not committed to any one system of philosophy and reality; therefore, it is useful to draw on both qualitative and quantitative methodologies. Researchers are free to choose the methods, techniques, and procedures of research that best meet their needs and purpose. Pragmatists do not see the world as an absolute unity, thus a mixed methods design is more useful than subscribing to only one methodology. Truth is what works at the time; it is not based in a strict dualism between the mind and a reality completely independent of the mind. Pragmatic researchers look to what and how to research based on its intended consequences, where they want to go with it. Research always occurs in social, historical, political, and other contexts, therefore mixed-methods designs may incorporate a theoretical lens that is reflexive of social justice and political aims; and Pragmatists believe that there is a need to stop asking questions about reality and the laws of nature." (2003, p. 12-13)
Qualitative research as simply defined by Carspecken (1996), "investigates human phenomena that do not lend themselves, by their very nature, to quantitative techniques" (p.3). there are many diverse research methods that come under the qualitative umbrella (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994; Eisner & Peshkin, 1990; LeCompte & Preissle 1993; and Willis, 1995). According to Strauss and Corbin (1990), qualitative research is any type of research that constructs those findings that other ways of statistical processes and ways of quantification fail to arrive. The techniques and methods used in advanced qualitative research depend on scrutiny for gathering a genuine set of data about the research issue under study. Qualitative research is different from quantitative research in the context of theoretical fundamentals; primary hypothesises, and research methods. Although metaphors of qualitative research methods given by different authors vary considerably, most writings devoted to qualitative research emphasize participant observation and in-depth interviews. Quantitative methods contrast with qualitative research techniques, in that reliance is placed on the research instrument through which measurements are made. Qualitative research usually consists of three component consist of different analytic or interpretive procedures that are used to arrive at findings or theories. The last component is written and verbal reports.
A comprehensive knowledge of the major doctrine of a research theory, particularly qualitative, is necessary to conduct a good research within that theory. According to Borg and Gall (1989), qualitative research is much more complex to do well than quantitative research because the data collected are usually subjective and main measurement tool for collecting data is the investigator. Therefore, before conducting a qualitative research efficiently, all-embracing training and practice in the methods are necessary. The literature review reveals that qualitative research is often complex and lacks structure which is why appropriate training and practice are important in the transfer of knowledge.
Qualitative research methods are often used when other methods are not available (Bogdan, & Biklen 2003). For example, the sample size of the subject population is very small and statistical methods cannot yield…
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