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


Ancient mankind was faced with at least one of the same problems confronting modern social researchers: selecting the right tool for the right job. In fact, there is a v*****st array of methodologies available for virtually any type of research project today, but some ***** these will clearly be superior to others. One of the first decisions a researcher ***** be required to make in determ*****ing which approach is *****st suited for a given *****, though, involves ***** decision as ***** whether to use a qu*****litative or quantitative analytical approach. Both of these techniques have some attri*****es that make them appropriate for certain research applications, and in some cases researchers even use them both to maximize their return on their research resources. Nevertheless, in many cases, a qualitative or quantitative analysis is the perfect fit f***** a given research *****pic, but knowing the difference in the ***** is required, as well as when they should be use separately or in combinati***** ***** each other or another research methodology. To this end, this paper provides a critical evaluation of the merits and shortcomings of qualitative ***** quantitative ***** techniques and procedures, followed by a summary ***** the research and 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 in recent years, but the debate over qual*****ative versus quantitative research techniques is ********** not new. ***** this regard, Goodson and Phillimore emphasize that, "The ***** versus qualitative debate has a long his*****ry in social science research" (p. 42). To some extent, the debate over the su*****eriority of ***** versus quantitative research relates to how the various attri*****es of ***** technique are perceived by its adherents, and how ***** weaknesses and constra*****ts of each ***** viewed ***** its critics. In ***** regard, Crowley (1994) reports that, "Some researchers argue ***** qualitative research is unscientific and that quantitative methods remain the ***** of choice for serious-minded, social-***** researchers. These researchers deny the value of any method ***** departs from traditional quantitative methodologies. For others, only qualitative methods yield data of interest and worth. Though this debate seems ***** be waning in recent years, remnants of it rema*****" (*****, p. 65). Likewise, Benz and Newman (1998) maintain that the attributes of one research methodology may ***** preferable to researchers ***** purely subjective reasons: "The debate between qualitative ***** quantitative researchers is based upon the differences in assumptions about what reality is and whe*****r or not it is measurable. ***** debate further rests on differences of op*****ion about how we can best underst***** what we 'know,' whether through objective ***** ***** *****" (p. 2).

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


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