Custom «Research Methods» Sample Essay
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Modern science incorporates a variety of approaches to describe and structure different notions and phenomena. To achieve this purpose, researches concentrate on the three main research methods, namely, the quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods that help to gather data and make an analysis in order to develop assumptions and clarifications that refer to a specific subject matter. A method is chosen on the basis of the objective of a study, its character, and peculiarities. Such attributes as a philosophical basis, strategies and situations differentiate the methods. Each methodological approach has its advantages and limitations that should be considered to develop a proper study.
Qualitative Research Methods
Qualitative research methods are used to understand and evaluate a variety of issues from different angles. According to Creswell (2014), the method is utilized to analyze ideas that participants of research ascribe to a certain phenomenon. The approach also helps to comprehend the phenomenon and its features in terms of a larger perspective in comparison to quantitative methods. Wisdom, Cavaleri, Onwuegbuzie and Green (2012) emphasize that qualitative research is conducted in a naturalistic environment that allows participants to focus on their experiences and associations. The collected data may be presented in words or images that are useful when describing an issue in a deep and comprehensive way (Wisdom, Cavaleri, Onwuegbuzie, & Green, 2012). Thus, qualitative research is based on observations and their analysis.
The qualitative methods use a set of strategies and stages to collect and discuss the data, for example, open-ended questions. Information is provided in a report that does not follow a set structure. It should also be stressed that such a form of inquiry draws attention to individual meanings that shape a study (Creswell, 2014). Apart from an inductive philosophical assumption based on observations, the methods are characterized by questions and interviews that include a small number of participants to save time and resources (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). Furthermore, qualitative research has numerous advantages. For example, the method helps to identify new aspects of different issues, explain their mechanisms of action, provide personal perspectives and verbal information that, if needed, may be converted to a digital form (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). However, there are some limitations that include inability to apply data to the general population, difficulties related to using statistical methods and “assessing relations between characteristics” of a studied notion (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). Considering these features, qualitative method may be applied in situations when researchers need to inform about an issue and ways to address it in the context of field studies, usability studies, and working with correspondence (Rohrer, 2014). Thus, the method provides information that broadens an understanding of a phenomenon.
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Quantitative research is an informative method that is used to describe a notion on a basis of statistical procedures. The main feature of methods is an ability to test theories by analyzing the connections among different variables that are measured and discussed across groups or relationships (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). Quantitative methods deal with a large number of participants that are surveyed to receive and summarize the data. Statistical techniques are important as they help to construct general patterns that describe a notion. It is worth mentioning that surveys can be conducted across groups to compare results and determine significant factors that have impact on a studied concept (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). The information is presented in a report that follows a set structure (for example, abstract, introduction, literature review, methods, and other parts) and is useful for measuring and comparing certain aspects of an issue. To achieve this purpose online assessments, testing, surveys and other strategies are applied.
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Qualitative methods of research are exploited to make assumptions and test them deductively. One of the main advantages of the method is its ability to “generalize and replicate the findings” (Creswell, 2014, p. 4). Limitations include challenges related to covering new phenomena and recognizing its separate aspects as well as difficulties in interpreting data without the support of a control group. The method helps to present numerical data that describe relations between variables and may be used to develop guidelines for further research (Ben-Eliyahu, 2014). It may be used in situations when a researcher needs to assess a certain matter, illustrate its properties, and focus on measurements that reflect a development process.
Mixed Methods Research
Studies may concentrate on issues that require a combination of different approaches to be used in order to gather, analyze and describe data. In cases when quantitative and qualitative data is presented simultaneously, mixed methods research is utilized. An integration of two major approaches may be effective when different theoretical frameworks are involved. The defining aspect of this form of inquiry is based on a deeper understanding of a research problem. These methods may be more effective in presenting an issue and providing a more profound understanding than qualitative and quantitative methods individually (Creswell, 2014). It should be noted that mixed methods research is designed to incorporate advantages of each method and avoid main limitations.
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Mixed methods research has a wide spectrum of applicability. It can be utilized, for example, in cases of triangulation when researchers need “to converge different methods or use one method to corroborate the findings from another about a single phenomenon” (Wisdom, Cavaleri, Onwuegbuzie, & Green, 2012, p. 722). The methods may be beneficial when the results received with the help of one method are explained, elaborated, and developed by means of another (Wisdom, Cavaleri, Onwuegbuzie, & Green, 2012). Additionally, such a combination may be applied to expend the results of one method by including information from another, for instance, different measurements. Furthermore, various contradictions that appear in a study may be analyzed by implementing two approaches. This practice also allows refocusing research questions to avoid paradoxes (Wisdom, Cavaleri, Onwuegbuzie, & Green, 2012). Additionally, mixed methods research gives an opportunity to present diversity of views and the ways that different concepts are perceived and developed.
In order to understand how the two methods may be combined, an example should be provided. If, for instance, one had to assess the role and impact of a movie (let it be Rain Man), it would be useful to gather data and ask people whether they like the film. The received number would be included in quantitative methods research. However, if participants are asked about the reasons of their attitude, a researcher could describe specific issues related to the film in the context of qualitative methods. The combination of information would provide a deeper understanding of the impact of the motion picture and its implication. The same scheme may be applied to other questions.
In order describe a notion or study a phenomenon from different perspectives scholars conduct researches using different methodological approaches that have their advantages and limitations. The qualitative and quantitative research methods are highly informative and may be used separately and in a combination. Qualitative research advances studies related to unexplored aspects using inductive assumptions and observations while quantitative research may be applied to assess main features with precision in a deductive manner on a basis of experiments. To provide a more specific study, mixed research methods are used. The three approaches share a wide spectrum of applicability (for example, evaluate a matter, its properties, development processes among others) and help to describe and structure different issues.
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