Discuss the key characteristics and differences of qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and action research methodologies. This discussion should include the strategies and approaches as well as the criteria for selecting a specific research approach.
Basic Research Methods
Qualitative research is any form of research which produces findings that have not reached by methods of statistical procedures or other means of quantification. In essence qualitative research seeks to find out "why" and not "how" through the examination of unstructured data - such as interview transcripts, emails, notes, feedback forms, photos and videos. Qualitative research is valuable for gaining insight into attitudes, behaviors, value systems, concerns, motivations, aspirations, culture and/or lifestyles.
Examples of qualitative approaches include:
? Ethnography - an in-depth description and interpretation of cultural patterns and meanings within a culture or social group
? Case study/Field Research - the essential idea is that the researcher goes "into the field" to observe the phenomenon in its natural state or in situation
? Phenomenology - emphasizes a focus on people's subjective experiences and interpretations of the world. The phenomenologist wants to understand how the world appears to others
? Grounded theory - self-defined to develop theory about phenomena of interest
Qualitative research does not rely solely on statistics or numbers, which is the domain of quantitative research.
In quantitative research the goal is to find out the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent or outcome variable in a given population. Quantitative research designs are either descriptive, where subjects are usually measured once or experimental where subjects are measured before and after an event. Descriptive research is defined by Gay (1996) as that which ...
The differences in qualitative, quantitative, mixed, and action research is examined.