Phd Comprehensive Exam. in Leadership

Topics: Qualitative research, Quantitative research, Scientific method Pages: 46 (15014 words) Published: April 20, 2013
Comprehensive Examination Written Responses
Presented in Partial Fulfillment
Of the Requirements for the Degree
Doctor of Philosophy

George E. Anderson III
School of Business and Technology
Capella University

The mixed method has recently become a popular method of research. Analyze and compare the mixed method, qualitative and quantitative research methods. Evaluate the effectiveness of each as a valid method of research on models of military leadership.


The sociological effects discussed by Kuhn (1996) as to the institutionalization of knowledge paradigms, may account for the fact there is a great deal of concurrence as to the nature of both qualitative and quantitative research methods. There seems to be almost universal agreement as to the epistemological and theoretical roots of each methodology. There is however, substantial disagreement as to the appropriateness of one methodology over the other. “The researcher’s view of reality is the cornerstone to all other assumptions, that is, what is assumed here predicates the researcher’s other assumptions” (Holden & Lynch, 2004). Both quantitative and qualitative methodological purists “view their paradigms as the ideal for research” (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). While making the case for their chosen style of research, many quantitative and qualitative researchers both implicitly and explicitly argue the inadequacy of research paradigms other than their own. Quantitative research methodology starts with an objectivist epistemological assumption and logically moves through the theoretical perspective of positivism. A positivistic quantitative researcher believes that in the universe “things exist as meaningful entities independently of consciousness and experience” (Crotty, 1998, p. 5). The world view of an objectivist “revolves around the ontological assumption that the social world external, to individual cognition is a real world made up of hard, tangible and relatively immutable structures. In other words, the social world exists independently of an individual’s appreciation of it”(Burrell and Morgan, 1979). In contrast, the qualitative research methodology flows from the epistemologies of constructionism and subjectivism, and the interpretive or transformative theoretical perspectives. For the epistemology of subjectivity “the social world external to individual cognition is made up of nothing more than names, concepts and labels which are used as artificial creations, whose utility is based upon their convenience as tools for describing, making sense of, and negotiating the external world”(Burrell and Morgan, 1979). For a qualitative researcher “human behavior depends on how individuals interpret the conditions in which they find themselves” and “social reality is regarded as the product of processes by which social actors negotiate the meanings for actions and situations” (Blaikie, 1991). “Meaning is not discovered, but constructed…. different people may construct meaning in different ways” (Crotty, 1998). The differences in “the underlying assumptions of the quantitative and qualitative paradigms result in differences which extend beyond philosophical and methodological debates” (Sale, Lohfeld, & Brazil, 2002). Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research: Defined
Initially, quantitative sociological research methodology was developed as an extension of existing scientific research into the nature of the universe. “The purpose of research is to discover answers to question through the application of scientific procedures” (Baker, 2001). Chemistry, astronomy, mathematics and geology are all objective, quantitative sciences which are governed by the rules of inquiry known as the scientific method. Likewise for the social objectivists researcher, “human activity is understood as observable behavior taking place in observable, material circumstances” (Blaikie,...
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