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

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A Critical Evaluation of the Merits and Shortcomings ***** 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 ***** job. In fact, there is a v*****st array of methodologies available ***** 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 to make in determining which approach is best suited for a given *****, though, involves ***** dec*****ion *****s ***** 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 *****s even use them both to maximize their return on their research resources. Nevertheless, ***** m***** cases, a qu*****litative or quantitative analysis is the perfect fit f***** a given ***** topic, but knowing the difference in the *****ethodologies is required, *****s well as when they should be use separately or ***** combinati***** ***** each other or another research methodology. To this end, this paper provides a critical evaluation of the merits and shortcomings of qualitative ***** quantitative research techniques and procedures, followed by a summ*****ry ***** ***** ***** and salient findings in the conclusion.

Review and Discussion

Background and Overview.

There has been a good de*****l of attention paid to research and those who conduct it ***** recent years, ***** the debate over qualitative versus quantitative research techniques is ********** not new. In this regard, Goodson and Phillimore emp*****ize that, "The quantitative versus qualitative debate has a long his*****ry in ***** science research" (p. 42). To some extent, the debate over the superiority of qualitative versus ***** research relates to how ***** various ***** ***** each technique are perceived by its adherents, and how the weaknesses and constra*****ts of each ***** viewed by its critics. In ***** regard, Crowley (1994) reports *****, "Some researchers argue that qualitative research is unscientific and that quantitative methods remain the ***** of choice for serious-minded, social-***** *****ers. These researchers deny the value ***** 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 ***** years, remnants of it remain" (1994, p. 65). Likewise, Benz and Newman (1998) maintain ***** the attributes of one research methodology may be *****referable to researchers ***** purely subjective reasons: "The debate between qualitative ***** quantitative researchers is based upon the differences in assumptions about what reality is and whether or not it is measurable. ***** debate further rests on differences of op*****ion about ***** we can best underst***** what we 'know,' whether through objective or subjective *****" (p. 2).

This lengthy history of controversy ***** added some fuel to the current fires over which 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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