Case Study: Acquisition of Numbers and Subjecting

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¶ … acquisition of numbers and subjecting those numbers to statistical analysis. Qualitative research is focused on non-numeric evidence and arguments. Another perspective on the issue comes from Keele (n.d.) who describes the different as "quantitative research aligns itself with the positivist paradigm, whereas qualitative research most closely aligns itself with the naturalistic paradigm. The positivist approach is more focused on narrow subjects, tests theory and seeks to identify and test relationships between variables. Qualitative research is better suited for developing theory, and as a means of discovery. Data is synthesized using reasoning, which can lead to hypotheses that would ultimately be tested using quantitative methods.

Exploratory research relies on qualitative techniques because they are best suited to the objectives of exploratory research. When a researcher is attempting to deal with a significant amount of uncertainty -- parallel theories, open-ended subjects, and subjects that cannot easily be predicted or controlled, then qualitative research is typically used. Exploratory research, with its emphasis on synthesizing vast amounts of information in order to derive understanding of complex subject matter, is well-suited to exploratory research. Only after the exploratory research has been completed is the researcher in a position to develop hypotheses that can be tested using quantitative, confirmatory research methodologies (Zikmund, Chapter 7).

3. Causal designs rely on quantitative techniques, because quantitative techniques provide reliable way of testing correlations. Causation still needs to be implied in some cases, but in other cases, such as in a laboratory experiment, quantitative research can yield insights into causation. In either case, the use of statistical analysis in quantitative research makes that methodology for better for causal research because the evidence of causation is reliable, provable and testable. Causal research that relies on qualitative methodologies leaves too much to the interpretation of the researcher. This introduction of subjectivity and potential bias makes qualitative research methodologies less useful for causal research as the outcomes are less reliable, and furthermore cannot be easily tested. Causal research relies on replication as the basis of its value, and qualitative studies are much more difficult to replicate than are quantitative studies (Zikmund, Chapter 7).

4. There are four basic orientations of qualitative research. These are experiential understanding, which reflects the desire of many forms of qualitative analysis of developing theory. Theoretical comprehension of the researchers is developed in part through the process of qualitative research -- this is generally not the case with quantitative research, where most learning comes when the results are subject to statistical analysis. The second orientation of qualitative research is generalization (no author, 2012). Qualitative research seeks to establish "generalizations that hold over diverse situations" (Ibid). This leads in particular to observational research. This orientation focuses on the elimination of context in order to provide insight into basic rules and generalizations that might apply widely.

The third basic orientation of qualitative research is the emphasis on interpretation. Whereas quantitative research delivers statistical analysis from which interpretation is numerically demonstrated, qualitative research focuses more on the ability of the researcher to interpret the observations or even the results. This orientation serves the role of developing… [END OF PREVIEW]

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