A Contrastive Analysis of Qualitative and Quantitative Research.


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  • A Contrastive Analysis of Qualitative and Quantitative Research.

    1. 1. Master’s Degree Program in English Teaching as a Foreign Language ESPOL Qualitative Research Design under the direction and supervision of Professor Jorge Flores
    2. 2. Differences Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research
    3. 3. Introduction This presentation focuses on the differences between qualitative and quantitative research as examined in two articles. One article is Quantitative “versus” Qualitative Research: The wrong question by Hope Olson from University of Alberta in Canada and another article is the Qualitative and the Quantitative Debate published by Writing@CSU: Writing Guide.
    4. 4. Introduction Both articles analyse differences between qualitative and quantitative research stated by specialists in the fields of library and information science research. The authors have contrasted several specialists' positions for these differences and considered main aspects implied in scientific research. These aspects reflect ontological and epistemological implications, methodological approaches or the importance of researchers' role for the development of information science research.
    5. 5. Presentation Contents Index I have based this presentation on information provided in articles mentioned in the introduction. I have summarised this information considering the most important points of the articles, specialists’ observations and assumptions. This information was oriented to determine main differences between quantitative and qualitative research and how these differences influence research. Main points for the presentation are: • Definitions of quantitative and qualitative research. • Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research. • Definitions of two essential terms: Ontological & Epistemological. • Important assumptions concerning quantitative or qualitative research from several researchers’ observations. • The Role of Theory • The authors’ conclusions. • Personal conclusions.
    6. 6. Definitions of Quantitative and Qualitative Research Given by Oxford English Dictionary Quantitative • “That is, or may be, considered with respect the quantity or quantities involved; estimated or estimable by quantity. Relating to, concerned with, quantity or its measurement.” (OX2) Qualitative • “Relating to, connected or concerned with quality or qualities. Now usually in implied or expressed opposition to quantitative.” (OX2)
    7. 7. How Has Specialists Defined Quantitative and Qualitative Research as indicated by Hope Olsen? “Jack Glazier vaguely defines qualitative by what is not quantitative”. (1992,6). He lists as qualitative methods ethnographic and naturalistic and, most curiously, and unobtrusive methods. “Elfreda Chapman also defines qualitative research by what it is not”….. “unlike other methods, feels the work does not use tightly controlled variables or the creation of structured situations.” (1984-40036)
    8. 8. Characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Stated by Several Specialists Qualitative Research Characteristics “Non manipulative and non controlling nature” Raya Fidel, 1993. “Holistic, environmental or contextual, inductive or dialectical, pluralistic or relative” – (Bradley, 1993; Fidel 1993; Sutton 1993; Mellon 1990; Glover and Glazier 1985.) Quantitative Research Characteristics “Quantitative data involves numbers and is deductive. All quantitative research requires a hypothesis before research can begin.” – The Quantitative and Qualitative Debate
    9. 9. Definitions of Two Essential Terms: Ontological & Epistemological Ontological “Of or relating to essence of the nature of being.” “Branch of metaphysics that deals with the nature of existence.” yourDictionary.com - Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary Epistemological “The branch of philosophy that studies the nature of knowledge, its presuppositions and foundations, and its extent and validity.” yourDictionary.com
    10. 10. Important Considerations Concerning Quantitative or Qualitative Research From Several Researchers’ Observations These are important considerations when establishing difference between both methods. “Some Information Science Literature ILS Writers suggest that the distinction is really one of epistemology”. - Hope Olson. “It is true that the positivist approach, with its goal of discerning the statistical regularities of behaviour, is oriented toward counting the occurrences and measuring the extent of the behaviours being studied. By contrast, the interpretative approach, with its goal of understanding the social world from the viewpoint of the actors within it, is oriented toward detailed description of the actors’ cognitive and symbolic actions, that is, the meanings associated with observable behaviours.” (1993, 451) Quantitative versus Qualitative Research: The wrong question.
    11. 11. Important Considerations Concerning Quantitative or Qualitative Research From Several Researchers’ Observations Subject / Object - Research / Respondent “The objective researcher / subject focuses on the respondent (the object of the research). The objective researcher / subject focuses on the respondent / object in an effort to understand objective reality.” “The subjective researcher seeks to know the situation through the eyes of the respondent.” “The relationship between subject and object is an indicator of the ontological and epistemological assumptions on which a given study is based.” Quantitative versus Qualitative Research: The wrong question.
    12. 12. Important Considerations Concerning Quantitative or Qualitative Research From Several Researchers’ Observations • “Attitude toward bias, particularly as introduced by the researcher, is affected by the underlying epistemic assumptions.” Hope Olson • “Total objectivity is impossible for researchers who are, after all, human beings. The difference between the two research traditions is not that one lacks objectivity. The difference is that naturalistic researchers systematically acknowledge and document their biases rather than striving to rise above them.” (Mellon 1990, 26) • Concerning methodology Hope Olson indicates that subjective and objective types of research analyse data in either quantitative or qualitative manner. She rephrases Fidel’s observations and says that subjective research uses multiple methods to measure the same qualities, every one after the other, and objective research uses methods to measure different qualities as appropriate.
    13. 13. The Role of Theory “In subjective research, theory may be generated by the evidence during the study.” “Objective researchers devise hypothesis or thesis prior to the study. This difference make sense if objective research is design to understand a single objective reality…..Subjective research, however, accepts that different theories may be simultaneously valid according to the researchers.” Mellon (1990, 72)
    14. 14. Conclusions Presented in Both Articles There are conclusions in both articles concerning the role of qualitative and quantitative research for library and information science. I present these conclusions as follows: • “Researchers should find the most effective ways to incorporate elements of both to ensure that their studies are as accurate and thorough as possible.” - The Qualitative and Quantitative Debate. • “It is important for researchers to realise that qualitative and quantitative methods can be used in conjunction with each other.” The Qualitative and Quantitative Debate. • “The focus on methods should not drive research.” Hope Olson • “Other researchers think that qualitative and quantitative methodologies can be used in combination only by alternating between methods…..Some researchers think that both qualitative and quantitative methods can be used simultaneously to answer a research question.” - The Qualitative and Quantitative Debate.
    15. 15. Personal Conclusions • Qualitative as well as quantitative research are fundamental for the study and the development of science as we use frequently use them to process information, formulate principles, confirm or revalidate theories among other applications. • Both types of research have numerous applications to know and understand reality. Some examples of these applications are studies to learn about behaviour, living conditions, social effects, social needs, ethnographic aspects, educational development, etc. Both articles present examples of these studies.
    16. 16. Personal Conclusions • It is very important to identify main characteristics and methodology of qualitative and quantitative research to optimise information gathered, processed and concluded after research. What is more we should base our research work on principles such as objectivity, validity, unbiased interpretation, reliability if we target at obtaining real information. In addition we have to develop our methodological expertise. • I learned important things such as the importance of context for research, usefulness of research when analysing particular problems and essential considerations for knowledge acquisition.
    17. 17. Personal Conclusions According to both articles both types of research can be combined for study purposes. In fact they are often integrated in numerous research activities in different fields. For example, there has been a combination of quantitative and qualitative research in a study about computer assisted programs in an educational environment in USA. This information was presented in the article The Quantitative and Qualitative Debate. I personally think both types of research are valuable tools to assess an educational system or the teaching/learning process. A program evaluation, for instance, can measure students’ achievement results, gather relevant information about students’ progress, analize these results to improve a particular teaching situation.
    18. 18. Thanks for your attention Ms. EFLT María del Carmen Boloña Virtual Education Specialist