|RESEARCH DESIGN: QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE APPROACH|
|Written by Mudjia Rahardjo|
|Friday, 09 April 2010 01:43|
Research is a systematic and scientific inquiry done by a variety of scientists of different academic desciplines for a variey of purposes. Research is a systematic process because it follows a general system whose elements are (1) identification of problems, (2) review of related literature, (3) data collections, (4) data analysis, and (5) drawing conclusions. Research is a scientific process because it follows a general set of procedures through which a systematic approach is implemented, beginning from the encounter of some problems in the first step to the drawing conclusions in the final step.
Research is an inquiry which has two components: process and product. The process is about an area of inquiry and how it is pursued. The product is the knowledge generated from the process.
Research can be conducted in classrooms, laboratories, libraries, government offices, companies, in the streets, markets etc. It is, therefore, important for any researcher to gain adequate knowledge and skills about the nature of research, the paradigms, and procedures. It is also important for reseachers to attain some technical and methodological competence so that they can go beyond the stage of general concepts and ideas to pursue research in a meaningful and correct ways.
Scholars believe there is a broad spectrum of research activities that utilize various research methods, ranging from a very simple research to a very complex one, both in positivism and interpretivism paradigms. Each brings methodological consequences and purposes. However, in spite of the complexity of methods and paradigms, according to Wiersma (…, : 3), in a general sense all research is oriented to one or both goals: the extension of knowledge and/or the solution of a problem.
This paper is designed primarily for an introductory course for students taking a research methodology both for undergraduate and post-graduate programs.
A. RESEARCH PROCEDURE
Research process requires a sequence of steps. The first step is selecting a topic, that is a general area of study or issue (i.e. divorce, crime, education, laws, management, language use, homelessness, etc). The selection of the topic is based on the program of the study, the area of the desciplines, the personal interest, the practical, theoretical contribution, and the institutional contributions).
Selecting research paradigms is the next step. Paradigm helps us understand phenomena: it advances assumptions about social world, how science should be conducted, and what constitutes legitimate problems, solutions, and criteria of “proof” (Firestone, 1978; Gioia & Pitre, 1990; Kuhn, 1970; in Cresswell, 1994: 1). Paradigm encompasses both theories and methods.
Different paradigm determines different onthological, epistemological, axiological, rhetorical and methodological asumption.
POSITIVISM is designed to be consistent with the assumption of QUANTITATIVE STUDY -> It is termed as:
The quantitative thinkings come from an empiricist tradition established by such philoshopers as Comte, Mill, Durkheim, Newton, and Locke (Creswell, 1994: 4).
This study is defined to explain variables, to test theory or to determine whether a certain predictive theory holds true or not ( as done in SURVEYS of which objective is to examine the relationships between two or more variables; or in EXPERIMENT of which objective is to compare two or more different objects).
Quantitative study is based on testing theory composed of variables, measured with numbers, and analyzed with statistical procedures.
INTERPRETIVISM is designed to be consistent with the assumption of QUALITATIVE STUDY -> It is termed as:
This study is defined to UNDERSTAND a particular social or human problem, situation, events, role, group, or interaction, based on building a complex, holistic picture, formed with words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducted in a natural setting (as done in ETHNOGRAPHY, CASE STUDIES, GROUNDED THEORY, and PHENOMENOLOGY).
Besides, it is an investigative process where the researcher gradually makes sense of a social phenomenon by:
“ An Approach to ….”,
“ A Study of ….”.
“ An Ethnography: Understanding a Child’s Perception of War”, “An Analysis on …” etc.
Having considered those factors, a researcher needs to ask others for
their reactions and comments to the topic. Seek reactions from:
b. noted authorities in the field,
c. academic advisors, and
d. faculty committee and colleagues.
The topic or focus of research is still large, so it must be narrowed down into a spesific research problem/question.
Kerlinger (1979: 64) defines theory as “a set of interrelated constructs (variables), definitions, and propositions that presents a systematic view of phenomena by specifying relations among variables, with the purpose of explaining phenomena”.
The functions of theory in Quantitative and Qualitative Research are different due to the nature of the paradigms. In Quantitative Research, where researchers use accepted and precise meanings, a theory is used deductively and placed at the beginning of the plan of the research. One thus begins the study advancing a theory, collects data to test it, and reflects on whether the theory is confirmed or disconfirmed by the results of the study.
According to Creswell (1994: 88), a theory becomes a framework for the entire study. It can be placed in the introduction section, in the review of related literature, immediately after hypotheses, or research questions, or in a separate section of the study.
Therefore, it is often called a theory base, a theoretical rationale, or a
Theories vary in terms of their scope. Merriam (in Creswell, 1994: 83) groups theories into three types: (1) Grand Theories (attempt to explain large categories of phenomena and are most common in natural sciences, example, Darwin’s theory of evolution), (2) Midle-Range Theories (fall between minor working hypotheses of everyday life and the all-inclusive grand theories, example, life span development theories), (3) Substantive Theories (restricted to a particular setting, group, time, population, or problem).
The form of theories might be a series of hypotheses, “if ….then” logic statements, such as “The higher her rank, the greater her influence”.
A theory can be stated as a series of “If ….then statements”, such as “If the frequency of interaction between two or more persons increases, the more they will know each other – both their respect and sentiments”.
In Qualitative Research a theory is treated differently as that in Quantitative approach. In Qualitative Approach, one does not begin with a theory to test or verify. Instead, a theory may emerge during the data collection and analysis phase of the research, or even be used relatively late in the research process as a basis for comparison with other theories.
Using an inductive model of thinking, one will build a new theory by gathering detailed information, forming categories or themes until a theory or pattern emerges.
B. DIFFERENCES BETWEEN QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE APPROACHES