Advancement of Knowledge Base the Qualitative Domain Term Paper

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¶ … Advancement of Knowledge Base

The qualitative domain of study in research is characterized by its methods and analysis that require insight- and idea-generation through lived experiences of individuals and groups to describe and explore further a specific phenomenon under study. It is through these 'lived experiences' that the researcher would investigate and explore the nature and dynamics of a social phenomenon. In qualitative research, there is great consideration and value put in narrative forms of discourse and observation (these also being one of the common methods used in qualitative research). As quoted in Creswell (2006), qualitative research is "the heightening of awareness and creating dialogue," which "can lead to a better understanding of the way things appear to someone else and through that might lead to improvements in practice" (102).

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Qualitative research's nature, methods, and forms of analysis contribute to the advancement of knowledge base, mainly because while it centers on exploratory and descriptive investigation of social phenomena, it still requires the systematic order of investigation required in social scientific inquiry. Moreover, as supported by Creswell's assertion earlier, qualitative research contributes to the advancement of knowledge base as each qualitative study provides a new insight, idea, or dimension about a social phenomenon that has not been explored and/or described before. Through qualitative research, information about social phenomena are further enriched, providing a better and more complete picture of the topic or issue under study not only for the sake of other researchers, but more importantly, for end-users and decision-makers relevant to the issue/topic or phenomenon at hand.

Contribution to Previous Theories

Term Paper on Advancement of Knowledge Base the Qualitative Domain Assignment

Qualitative research, because its main purpose is to provide new information about a social phenomenon, is constantly contributing to previous theories or models developed. In fact, one of the approaches under the qualitative domain is grounded theory research, which seeks to develop new theories based on information generated 'from the ground' or from the field. That is, theory development is based on specific cases -- individuals or groups -- that can be collectively collated and used to come up with a general theory and/or illustration (model) of the social phenomenon under study. It must be emphasized, however, that while grounded theory utilizes a significant number of participants to generate sufficient information to develop the theory, it is still a far cry from quantitative research in that the main purpose in using this approach is to develop an explanation and illustration of a process occurring among individuals or social groups (Creswell, 2006:78).

Qualitative research is not limited to contributing new information to previous theories. Its approaches make it possible for new theories to be developed as well. It could be that a researcher is investigating a phenomenon using the qualitative approach to contribute new, additional information about a specific theory, and instead of adding new information, the information and results generated could actually be developed into a new theory. Indeed, the methodology of qualitative research itself does not only provide further exploration of the topic at hand, but it also provides new opportunities for the researcher to explore new avenues based on what the information generated tells him/her in the course of conducting the research (Sale, 2002:45)

Hallmarks of Good Research

One of the hallmarks of good research in the qualitative domain is that information (narratives and stories) must be valid and authentic. That is, information comes from an individual or group who has truly experienced the phenomenon and is a credible source of information based on this virtue. Thus, the information being authentic, the researcher can then claim that the information generated to explain or describe a phenomenon is valid. Another important hallmark for qualitative research is that information must be exhaustive -- in depth, and explored every possible dimension there is in the phenomenon under study. In the pursuit for process and meanings, the researcher must ensure that more information does not necessarily result to an exhaustive investigation; instead, exhaustiveness of information would depend on the methodology used for data collection, analysis used to generate insights and ideas, and the competence of the researcher to conduct the preceding two steps.

Most important of all hallmarks of qualitative research is that each study or social investigation conducted must adhere to the ethical standards of research. Participants must not be coerced or forced to participate when they are not willing to. Further, they must not also be misled, participating in the study for the wrong reasons or misleading objectives. The conduct of methodology and analysis, while qualitative in nature, must also be systematic and not developed to 'lean toward' the biases of the researcher on the expected or desired results of the social investigation.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research and the Advancement of Knowledge Base

The quantitative domain of research draws its strength from its ability to provide a general statement and picture of a social (or natural) phenomenon about a specific group or population based on quantitative or numerical data. Where qualitative data draws its strengths from narratives and stories, quantitative research provides an alternative by providing evidence based on numbers and representativeness to the population or group of interest. To achieve representativeness, quantitative research must then adopt methods and systems that would ensure that specific units of analysis within the population that are included in the sample of the study would indeed be considered 'representative' to the group or population being studied.

Quantitative research contributes to the advancement of knowledge base not only by explaining, describing, or exploring a social phenomenon, but more importantly, because it has the capability of providing causation that would best provide an understanding of the phenomenon occurring in the first place. Causation is particularly important in social phenomena, since these cause-and-effect relationships ultimately help society make sense of the realities it experiences. Causal relationships established in each quantitative study provides another link, another relationship to realities and things (living or non-living) that exist and yet society cannot seem to link with each other. Quantitative research, then, helps provide these linkages in humanity's never-ending pursuit to know the 'general picture' that life offers to us everyday (Balnaves and Caputi, 2001:16).

Contribution to Previous Theories

Quantitative research's wealth of data contributes to the establishment or 'de-establishment' of theories -- that is, quantitative data can be used to refute a specific theory, and possibly, introduce a new or modified one. However, most of the time, quantitative research contributes to previous theories, developing studies that test the range or scope of applicability of the theory. The test of applicability can be on specific groups or populations, and/or geographic areas. Further, theories can be deconstructed and specific elements of it will be studied quantitatively for confirmation or, through quantitative data, modification. It is through quantitative research that theories become more dynamic -- as more data is generated and analyzed, more insights are developed that would improve on the existing theory. In essence, this improvement of the theory leads to an improvement or enlightenment of researchers and general public on our knowledge of social phenomena.

Thompson (2002) asserts that quantitative research must also be developed and conducted not only to generate data and information about the topic of interest, but most importantly, to be able to determine the impact of the phenomenon in people's lives (31). Indeed, contribution, expansion, modification and testing of theories are done to ultimately reach one goal: how the theory will impact the lives of people and its relevance to society in general. Thus, more than academic or professional contribution to research, quantitative research contributes to society, based on its determination of the impact and relevance of the tested, modified or expanded theory to the lives of people, end-users and beneficiaries of these studies in the first place.

Hallmarks of Good Research

One of the important characteristics that have been repeatedly characterized in quantitative… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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