Agnes Annette Ghan
ED 8112 u03a1
General Characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods In scientific research, there are two basic methods used primarily in research studies by educators: qualitative research primarily utilizes the application of inductive reasoning, while quantitative research applies deductive reasoning. Each of these methods will be explored with regards to ethical considerations within the research design. In many studies, a mixed method approach may also be used. According to Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, applied research evaluates the “effectiveness and usefulness of particular educational practices” (2010, p.12). While, in contrast, basic research strives to create, test, and improve educational theories. (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, 2010, p.11) Both of these prove beneficial for use in educational research today, and irrespective of the method used, careful consideration must be given by the researcher to conduct rigorous research with extensive planning and vigilant detail to ethical issues. (Cohen, Manion, & Matthews, 2007) Qualitative Research Methods
Qualitative research may be described as collecting data using “narrative or verbal methods” and includes the use of observations, interviews, storytelling, questionnaires, group discussions, field studies, and document analysis for the purpose of constructing meaning. The researcher typically utilizes inductive approaches going from specific qualitative data to generalized statements or theories described as “a type of discovery approach to knowing” by Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle (2010, p.10). Data collection progresses through systematic observations, analysis of data to look for overarching themes or patterns through coding, and finally, the development of a contextual generalization about the patterns of behaviors or responses into a meaningful, focused abstraction or theory. A variety of qualitative research approaches commonly used includes case studies, ethnography, narratives, and phenomenology. Two other approaches may be used by both qualitative and quantitative research studies. The first, program evaluation, seeks to improve an educational program based on the results of the evaluation of the study by the researcher and may result in immediate changes within a school, school district, or state. While action research may also bring about changes within a school or school district, it may only bring about change within the researcher’s or a participant’s classroom. Both are effective in changing educational practices and when analyzed based on “credibility, dependability, transferability, and catalytic authenticity” (Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle, p.174) can result in meaningful improvement to education. Quantitative Research Methods
Quantitative research methods “summarize data using numbers” according to Lodico, Spaulding, & Voegtle
(2010, p.11) and focuses on the “hypothetic-deductive method” (2010, p.10) by beginning with the formation of a hypothesis on the basis of a theory or previous research study. The origin of this method has its roots in the philosophy of scientific realism because researchers remain objective and seek to prove or reject their hypothesis using numerical data, descriptive statistics, and careful analysis. During the study, the researcher identifies controlled variables, an independent variable, and a dependent variable following the general guidelines of the scientific method. Then, the quantitative researcher analyzes the results to relate them to the real world for the purpose of improving learning processes, explaining current educational theories, or proposing new ones. In quantitative studies, both basic and applied research may be used depending on the purpose of the research design. The researcher strives to make the inquiry value-free may classify the study was experimental research or...
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