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Research refers to the scientific search for pertinent information on a specific subject or topic. It mainly comprises of defining and pre-defining problems, formulated a hypothesis, collecting and organizing and evaluation of data, making deductions and reaching a conclusion that is carefully tested. The primary aim of any form of research is to find answers to questions through the application of scientific research approaches (Babie 2010, p. 104).
For one to begin doing research on a particular topic one must be motivated to do so by various aspects of life. The main motivator of a research is curiosity, desire to solve unresolved problems as well and directive from and institution in which a person is acquainted with. Social research refers to the studies that are conducted by social scientists using a systematic plan. In social research, there are two broad classification of research namely the quantitative and qualitative research. This essay explores these two types of research in social research and various aspects associated with social research (Babie 2010, p. 104).
Forms of social research
There are mainly two forms of social research the qualitative research and the quantitative research (Benard 2013).
Qualitative social research
Qualitative research refers to studies that are not based on data that can be statistical manipulated to obtain result as with quantitative research approach. The aim associated with the qualitative research is to gain an understanding and reason something happens. The research may also be aimed at just providing an insight on an issue or to note prevalent trends in the society. The sample used for this type of social research is typically small, where respondent are required to represent a specific number of people the result of these research are exploratory and/ investigative. However, the research obtained cannot be used to make generalizations concerning a specific population of interest (Benard 2013).
Qualitative research techniques
While doing a qualitative research, various techniques are available for use in the collection of data. Making conclusion is mainly thorough the researchers interpretation of the collected data. The main techniques used in the collection of data include: interviews, focus groups, observation case study role play and ethnography.
Interview refers to the collection of research data through the initiation of conversation with the person who has the required information. The main aim of conducting an interview, in a qualitative research is to get an understanding of some themes which are considered important in the research at hand. Through an interview the researcher is capable of getting the perception of others on the topic of discussion.
Focus group is a method used in qualitative research. The focus group technique involves the selection of a small group of people normally between five and fifteen and allowed to discuss about a specific thing. Through their discussion and argument the researcher is capable of documenting their view concerning the research question at hand.
It is a qualitative research approach that focuses on a specific instance of a specific study with the aim of offering a detail account of happenings, experience and the relation of the aspect (Denscombe, 2004, p.32).
Refers to the process of monitoring people with the aim of obtaining some specific information about them in social research observation can be mostly associated with ethnography. Ethnography refers to a method of social research where the researcher stays with a group of people with the aim of obtaining specific information regarding the people’s culture (Denscombe, 2004, p.32).
Administration of questionnaires
Questionnaires can be used for both qualitative and quantitative research approaches. In qualitative research approach the questionnaires are open ended. Being open ended makes it possible for the researcher to obtain relevant information concerning the research from the person filling the questionnaire. It is a good approach of collecting qualitative data since the individual being interviewed has his or her time responding to the questions. However, in some instance it might be delayed or the respondent might be bias while responding to it (Denscombe, 2004, p.32).
Advantages of qualitative approach of research
The main advantage associated with the qualitative research is the fact that is useful during the early stages of a research when the research is not sure about what to study and concentrate on. This is from the fact that qualitative research does not restrict the researcher on the design or approach of the research. This gives the researcher flexibility which is required at the initial stages of a research. Furthermore, this approach offers the researchers more details and rich written descriptions as well as visual data through the social meaning and how It affects different people in the society (Watzlawi & Born 2007, p 50).
Another advantage associated with this approach of research is the fact that it does not require experience by the researcher. Thus this makes it suitable for individual who are doing research for the first time to be able to perform it. From the fact that it has little complexity, a person doing a research for the first time is capable of doing the research comfortably (Watzlawi & Born 2007, p 50).
Disadvantages of the qualitative approach of research
One disadvantage associated with this method is the fact that it has a lot of procedures which are redundant thus making the research not to be interesting. The research approach is also subjective and the results are based on one’s interpretation. This can also result to bias since conclusions are made basing on the interpretation made by the researcher. The method also requires a lot of time for the data to be collected analyzed and then conclusion made (Watzlawi & Born 2007, p 50).
Quantitative research, on the other hand, defers by qualitative research on their approaches. Quantitative research frequently involves the gathering of information in a way that they can be statistically manipulated to reach a conclusion. In these forms of research, the research question has to be precisely defined and narrowed to the objective of the research. This method is not a subject to bias as with the qualitative method since statistical backup is always required for the conclusion made. As opposed to the qualitative research the focus of quantitative research is normally to quantify data and make generalization from the sample to represent the targeted population (Benard 2013, p.104).
Advantages of quantitative approach of research
Using this approach of study the researcher is able to measure and analyze data. This means that the conclusion made from the research are backed up by statistical evidence. Bias is thus eliminated and accuracy is usually achieved through various approaches that are statistically acknowledged. Additionally bias is removed in the research since the procedures that are to be used needs to be validated by determining and setting the margin of error. Doing this enables the research to deal with values which will enhance accuracy of the data obtained (Taylor 2005, p 23).
The approach ensures that research is done in details. In the process of doing the detail research an individual gains a lot of knowledge regarding the subject of study. The detailed structure of this method also makes people to produce studies that are of high quality (Taylor 2005, p 23). .
Quantitative research techniques
Questionnaires are one approach of quantitative research. This is specifically when it is closed ended question. The closed ended questionnaires can be statistically evaluated and analyzed (Taylor 2005, p 23).
In quantitative research correlation techniques is a technique that involves describing the extent of a relationship between two variables. The single value used to describe the relationship between the two values is referred to as coefficient. Coefficient refers to a number representing the level of relationship between two individual variables (Washington et al, 2010). There are various forms of correlation that are used in analyzing statistical data these are Pearson product- moment, spearman rank lagged, and autocorrelation approach.
It is a quantitative research method when the study being performed involves the modeling and analyzing various variables including a dependent variable and independent variable.
Administration of questionnaires
It is considered one of the popular approaches of data collection. This is from the fact that it is used in both the quantitative and qualitative research. It normally involves allowing despondence to take on the question asked. The design of the questionnaire makes it possible for the respondent to respond to it with minimal assistance. The various forms of questionnaires that are used in quantitative research are the self-completion questionnaires and questionnaires question which are asked by someone. Administration of questionnaire can be through the computer often referred to as mail questionnaire. Telephone questionnaire and and in house questionnaire. The questionnaires can as well be ranked depending on how questions are framed and this classification results to the following types of questionnaires: open question questionnaires, multiple choice questionnaire, dichotomous question and scaling question (Creswell, 2014 p. 45).
In most instances the context of the study is usually ignored. This is from the fact that a lot of statistical work normal takes place and this might interfere with the context of the research. This is from the fact that with the quantitative approach of doing a research the techniques used in collecting data, validating the data and analyzing them have to be explained in detail thus interfering with the documentation of the result outcome. Another disadvantage is the fact that the sampling size has to be big for this increases the accuracy of the results obtained. Another disadvantage associated to this method is the fact that it requires individuals who have skills in statistical data analysis since it involves interpretation of statistical data (Creswell, 2014 p. 45).
The main purpose of any form of a research is to look for pertinent information in the area of study. The need to do a research is as a result of various things such as curiosity. While conducting a research the researcher has the responsibility of coming with a way that will make it possible for him or her to collect information that the conclusion of the research will be based from. While selecting the method of doing a research a researcher needs to consider the aim of the research, the expected outcome, knowledge on conducting the research and the resources available.
From the essay it is evident that there exist various differences regarding these two approaches of research. The main difference between these two methods of research is the fact that with the quantitative approach the data is collected in a form that it can be statistically manipulated. The approaches used in collecting this type of data include correlation methods, regression analysis and the administration of questionnaires. On the other hand qualitative research design refers to the research that is mainly aimed towards the collection of data that will be possible to describe a specific phenomenon. The techniques used in doing this research include the administration of interviews, questionnaires and observation.
The research techniques (qualitative and quantitative), are associated with some disadvantages and advantages. In qualitative research the method is advantageous when a researcher has not yet settled for something to do, it is also good for young researcher who do not have good experience in doing research. However the method is associated with bias. The conclusion made from this research is based on the interpretation by the researcher on the data and information collected. On the other hand the quantitative research is a disadvantage since it can result to the loss of focus while doing the research, the process of doing quantitative research is also involving and time consuming. The advantage associated with his method is the fact that bias is eliminated from the fact that the conclusions made are not based from personal information bat rather from the data collected and analyzed.