Wednesday, 6 May 2009

Quantitative and Qualitative Research by Nelson Dordelly-Rosales

Reference # 1 Krauss, Steven Eric (2005) Research Paradigms and Meaning Making: A Primer. The Qualitative Report, 10 (4) December, p.758-770.

In this article Krauss offers an overview of the epistemological differences of quantitative and qualitative research methodologies and proposes the realist philosophical paradigm. The realist paradigm was discussed as a “middle ground” between the poles of positivism and constructivism. Within a critical realism framework, both qualitative and quantitative methodologies are seen as appropriate. Krauss used mixed methods (and illustrated through examples) toward the goal of generating meaning. It introduces the notion of ‘meaning making’ in research methods, within the social sciences, and looks at how it actually occurs through qualitative data analysis. Krauss highlights the task of constructing meaning through qualitative data analysis was described citing a variety of perspectives and approaches. Overall, the article provides an introduction to some of the basic issues in attempting to work with both quantitative and qualitative research methods, and explains how qualitative data analysis can be used to organize and categorize different levels and forms of meaning.

Reference # 2 R. Burke Johnson and Anthony J. Onwuegbuzie (2004)Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come, Educational Researcher, Vol. 33, No. 7, pp. 14–26

The authors provide arguments against the polarization between quantitative and qualitative research, which is a “fallacious” dichotomy. This 'paradigm wars' “is not meaningful or productive for education research.” It distorts the conception of education and has serious implications for the quality of present educational research practice. The “subjective” vs. the “objective” is a wrong question. Consequently, the authors propose an “integrated approach to education research inquiry.” How we can integrate both paradigms? The researchers should focus on the construction of “good research questions and conducting of good research.” The questions asked should determine “the modes of inquiry that are used to answer them.”

I certainly believe the authors make a good enough case to suggest integrated methods. Indeed, phenomena are quantitative and qualitative at the same time; researchers follow similar interpretation processes for all educational research. I think integration is the authentic paradigm. We may accomplish “the integration of different modes of inquiry by collaborating with researchers with expertise.”

Comparison/contrast: there are similarities as well as differences between article 1 and article 2. Both agree that there is a third option to make good research. Either the “purists” or the ‘fallacious dichotomy” does not help in guiding productive research. Both articles argue that educational research practice should not focus in just one paradigm but in the mix or integration of both paradigms. As to the differences, the first article focuses on the commonalities and proposes the mix of methods: the second focuses on the strengths of both paradigms and suggests the integration. I think the second one complements the first article. Thanks!

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