Assignment 1: Quantitative vs Qualitative Research
The qualitative approach to research involves the collection of extensive amounts of narrative and written data in order to gain insight into an event, occurrence, strategy, or phenomenon. Quantitative research involves the collection of numerical measurement data in order to explain, predict, or control the interest area of research.
Under what conditions would a person choose the qualitative approach over the quantitative or vice versa when investigating a forensic behavioral science situation? When would a mixed-methods design be the best option? Through your research provide examples and support for the points you are making.
Review the points of others and add additional examples, challenging a response or drawing conclusions from the response.
Quantitative vs Qualitative Research
In quantitative studies, the researcher gathers data using particular instruments, for instance, through conducting a survey. Quantitative research may either be in form of correlational studies or causal-comparative studies (Creswell, 2014). An investigator may opt for the quantitative approach depending on the nature of the investigation that he/she wishes to conduct. For instance, if the investigator requires identifying the different factors that affect an outcome, then it would be necessary to use a quantitative approach. The investigator may be interested in establishing the factor(s) that best predict an outcome. In this case, a quantitative approach would be the best alternative. A quantitative approach is also applicable in situations where the investigator aims at identifying the utility of a particular intervention to the research outcomes. A quantitative approach is also best applicable when the investigator wishes to test an explanation or existing theory (Creswell, 2014). This is because the investigator is able to collect data and subject it to numerical analysis.
Qualitative research design involves the investigator examining different sets of narratives in order to draw conclusions. The qualitative approach may take two forms, which include narrative research or phenomenological research (Creswell, 2014). An investigator may choose to use a qualitative approach when there is little research available concerning the problem under investigation. The investigator may also opt for a qualitative approach when the research variables are not clear. This allows the researcher to search for a wide range of issues that can help understand the research problem. A qualitative approach is also best where the phenomenon under investigation is new or there are no theories or discussions concerning the problem (Creswell, 2014). An investigator may also opt for the qualitative approach if the existing theories do not address the topic or phenomenon under investigation.
The mixed-methods design strategy involves integrating both the qualitative as well as the quantitative approaches into an investigation. A mixed-methods design would be the best option in situations where either the quantitative or the qualitative approaches are inadequate to examine thoroughly the research problem. As such, the investigator finds it prudent to integrate both methods in the research work. For instance, an investigator may initially conduct a qualitative research involving a particular issue of concern. After examining the major themes identified through the qualitative research, the investigator may go for a quantitative approach in order to examine in detail the correlation between various themes. The mixed methods design provides the investigator with the opportunity to capitalize on the inherent weaknesses found on each method, and to counteract the effect of any biases that manifests through the application of each method (Harwell, n.d).
Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. SAGE Publications Inc.
Harwell, M. R. (n.d). Research design in qualitative/quantitative/mixed methods. Retrieved from http://www.sagepub.com/sites/default/files/upm-binaries/41165_10.pdf