Essay - A Critical Evaluation of the Merits and Shortcomings of Qualitative...

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A Critical Evaluation of the Merits and Shortcomings of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Techniques and Procedures


***** mankind was faced with at least one of the same problems confronting modern social researchers: selecting the right tool for the ***** job. In fact, there is a v*****st array ***** methodologies available for virtually any type of research project today, but some of these will clearly be superior to others. One of the first decisions a researcher ***** be required ***** make in determ*****ing which approach is *****st suited ***** a given project, though, involves the dec*****ion as to whether to use a qu*****litative or quantitative analytical approach. Both of these techniques have some attributes that make them appropriate for certain research applications, and in some cases researchers even use them both ***** maximize their return on ***** research resources. Nevertheless, in many *****, a qu*****litative or quantitative analysis is the perfect fit for a given rese*****rch topic, but knowing ***** difference in the methodologies is required, as well as when they should be use separately or in combination with each other or another research methodology. To this end, this paper provides a critic*****l evaluation of the merits and shortcomings of qualitative ***** quantitative research techniques and procedures, followed by a summ*****ry ***** the research ***** salient findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview.

There has been a good deal of attention paid to research and those who conduct it ***** recent years, ***** the debate over qual*****ative versus quantitative research techniques is certainly not new. ***** this regard, Goodson ***** Phillimore emphasize that, "The quantitative versus qualitative ***** has a long history in social science research" (p. 42). To some extent, the debate over the superiority of qualitative versus quantitative research relates to how the various attributes of each technique are perceived by its adherents, and how the weaknesses and constra*****ts of each are viewed by its critics. In ***** regard, Crowley (1994) reports that, "Some ********** argue that qualitative research is unscientific and ***** quantitative methods remain the methods of choice for serious-minded, social-science researchers. These researchers deny the value of any method that departs from traditional quantitative methodologies. For others, only qualitative methods yield data of interest and worth. Though this ***** seems to be waning in recent years, remnants of it rema*****" (*****, p. 65). Likewise, Benz and Newman (1998) maintain ***** the ***** of one research methodology may be *****referable to researchers for purely subjective reasons: "The debate ********** qualitative and quantitative researchers is based upon the differences in assumptions about what reality is ***** whether or not it is measurable. ***** debate further rests on differences of op*****ion ***** ***** we can best understand what we 'know,' whether through objective or ***** *****" (p. 2).

This lengthy his*****ry of controversy ***** added some fuel to the current fires over ***** research technique is superior and why, especially during a period in history where so much in*****mation has now become available for analysis


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