The Selection of Research Approaches
Research approaches are strategies and guidelines for conducting studies that cover anything from general hypotheses to specific techniques for gathering, analyzing, and interpreting data. There are a number of choices in this plan, and they don’t all have to be made in the sequence that makes sense to us and in which they are presented here. Which method should be employed to study a subject is the main decision. This choice should be based on the researcher’s philosophical presuppositions, the research design, and the specific data collection, analysis, and interpretation techniques used in the study.
The kind of research topic or issue being addressed, the researchers’ individual experiences, and the study’s target audiences are all taken into consideration when choosing a research technique. Research approaches, research designs, and research techniques are therefore three crucial concepts in this book that define a perspective on research that offers information in a sequential manner from general research constructs to specific methodologies.
The Three Approaches to Research
Three research methodologies—qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods—are advanced in this article. Without a doubt, the three methods are not as distinct as they first seem. It’s important to remember that qualitative and quantitative techniques are not polar opposites, inflexible classifications, or dichotomies. Instead, they stand for various points along a continuum (Creswell, 2015; Newman & Benz, 1998). Studies typically lean either more qualitatively or quantitatively, or vice versa. Due to its integration of both qualitative and quantitative techniques, mixed methods research falls somewhere in the centre of this spectrum.
The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is sometimes described in terms of the use of words (qualitative) as opposed to figures (quantitative), or even better, the use of closed-ended questions and replies (qualitative hypotheses) or open-ended questions and responses (qualitative interview questions).
The fundamental philosophical assumptions that researchers bring to the study, the categories of research strategies used in the research (such as quantitative experiments or qualitative case studies), and the specific techniques used in carrying out these strategies provide a more comprehensive view of the gradations of differences between them (e.g., collecting data quantitatively on instruments versus collecting qualitative data by observing a setting).
Both techniques have evolved historically, with the quantitative one dominating social science research from the late 19th century through the middle of the 20th century. Interest in qualitative research grew in the second half of the 20th century, and mixed methods research followed suit. With this background, viewing should be beneficial.
A Qualitative Research Approach
Qualitative research is a method for investigating and comprehending the significance that individuals or groups attach to a social or human situation. The research process includes developing questions and methods, data collection in the participant’s environment, data analysis inductively building from particulars to general themes, and the researcher providing interpretations of the significance of the data. The structure of the final written report is adaptable. Those that engage in this type of inquiry advocate for a research approach that values an inductive approach, an emphasis on individual meaning, and the necessity of documenting the complexities of a situation.
A Quantitative Research Approach
Quantitative research is a method for evaluating objective ideas by investigating the connections between variables. These factors can then be measured, often with tools, and the resulting numerical data can be examined statistically. The final written report follows a predetermined framework that includes an introduction, literature and theory, methodology, results, and commentary. Those who do this type of research, like qualitative researchers, have beliefs about evaluating hypotheses deductively, including bias safeguards, controlling for alternative or counterfactual explanations, and being able to generalize and replicate the findings.
Approach to Mixed Methods Research
Mixed methods research is a way of conducting research that involves gathering both quantitative and qualitative data, combining the two types of data, and employing unique designs that may include philosophical assumptions and theoretical frameworks. The essential assumption of this type of research is that combining qualitative and quantitative data offers extra knowledge beyond what either quantitative or qualitative data alone can supply.
These definitions include a lot of information. We have explored the sections of the definitions throughout this series so that their meanings will become evident to you as you read on.