qualitative and quantitative research methods

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Psychological Research Methods: Exploring Qualitative and Quantitative Research

In psychology, answers to our questions are not as succinct as in other types of sciences, and the findings essentially depend upon the underlying epistemology used. This essay seeks to define and examine the fields of qualitative and quantitative research. It will address the different epistemologies and methodologies of each paradigm, and aim to give you a brief overview of the two main research methods underlying scientific knowledge.
Qualitative research is often only defined in contrast to Quantitative research; That is, it does not involve statistics, nor does it depend on the level of objectivity that characterises the
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Ponterotto (2005) further states that the aim of quantitative research is the prediction, and control of variables that can be expressed as mathematical formulas to determine functional relationships.
These differing ontological approaches bring to pass differing methodological approaches. Methodology refers to the processes and procedures of the research. Research methods used include observation, interviews, focus groups, surveys, case studies, questionnaires and analysis of text (Ponterotto, 2005, p.132).
Observational research is non-experimental research where a researcher observes ongoing behaviour. It can be unstructured, semi-structured, structured, participant or non-participant (Wellington& Szczerbinski, 2007, p.80). Some limitations to this type of research are language and cultural barriers as well as the risk of observer bias, with one of the advantages being that the researcher gains access to information they normally wouldn’t have. Observation is typically used in qualitative research, but can be used in quantitative research prior to designing questionnaires (Wellington& Szczerbinski, 2007, p.80).
As with observation, interviews and focus groups can be structured, semi-structured and unstructured, and can use photographs, notes, videos and tape recordings to improve data quality. Interviewing allows the researcher to guide and
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