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sociology Assign 2.doc

10 Pages

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SOC 104
Margaret Buckby

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Essay Question: 1 Describe the various types of research designs and discuss the strengths and weaknesses of each design. Which type of research design is most commonly used by researchers, and which type of research design is the least reliable and why? If you were conducting research which design would you use and why? Research in any field begins with curiosity. Yet method texts often read as primers on how to kill curiosity by subjecting it to formula. As a social process, all research involves a good deal of guesswork, fumbling about, looking around, following rather loosely formulated hunches, filling in empty spaces and, generally, figuring out ways to usefully categorize and explain what it is that one has learned ( Stebbins, 2001). Research design is a plan that deals with entire research project which includes some major quires like the aims of study, what information to seek, how the researcher can collect data and how to process and interpret the data and so forth. According to Keith F Punch, “…Research design in general was described as the overall plan for a piece of research, including four main ideas: the strategy, the conceptual framework, the question of who or what will be studied, and the tools to be used for collecting and analyzing empirical materials. Design situates the researcher in the empirical world. When research questions are pre-specified, the design sits between the research questions and the data, and it shows how the research questions will be connected to the data. When research questions are developed as the study unfolds, the design still needs to connect the question to the data and to fit in with both” (1998, pp149- 150). Therefore, creating an effective research design, anticipating possible complexities and challenges in the field, is an exceedingly functional task in understanding any type of study. Although, the choice of methods should reflects both one's research topic and the overall research strategy as one's methodology shapes which methods are used and how each method is used (Silverman, 2005). Thus, I can argue that different types of methodology need to be required for different investigation. However, the logic of adopting certain methodological approach depends on the nature and purpose of the study. In addition, time, space and cost factors are also considered in adopting of any particular approach. 2 There are different types of research which can be classified by the following ways- • Quantitative research • Qualitative research • Mixed method research. Quantitative research: Quantitative research is tries to quantify the problem and understand how prevalent it is by looking for projectable results to a larger population. Quantitative research uses the deductive or confirmatory or “top down” scientific method; it is used primarily for description, explanation, and prediction. It is based on quantitative data, in particular on the analysis of variables. Trochim and Land (1982, p.1) defined quantitative research design as the glue that holds the research project together. A design is used to structure the research, to show how all of the major parts of the research project—the samples or groups, measures, treatments or programs, and methods of assignment—work together to try to address the central research questions. Bryman (2004) argues that quantitative research strategy is associated with an epistemological position of ‘positivism’ and an ontological position of ‘objectivism’. From this understanding we may identify the following strengths and weaknesses of this research- Strengths of quantitative research: • The researcher may look at relationship between variables, and then allow one to more variables credibly to establish cause-and-effect relationships. • Provides precise, quantitative, numerical data. • Data analysis is relatively less time consuming (using statistical software • It is useful for studying large numbers of people. • Data collection using some quantitative methods is relatively quick (e.g., survey method by telephone interviews) in comparison to qualitative research with in-depth interview or case study and so on. Weaknesses of quantitative research: 3 • Quantitative research does not study things in a natural setting or discuss the meaning things have for different people as qualitative research does • Experimental research involves artificiality, and the researcher tends to ignore many behaviors that can be important because they are not thought to be related to the variable of interest. • It ignores the direct observation of the phenomena. Qualitative research Bryman (2004) also argues that qualitative research strategy is associated with an epistemological consideration of ‘interpretivism’ and an ontological concern with ‘constuctionism’. Mason states: Qualitative research is interpretive, which means that it is concerned with how the social world is interpreted, understood, experienced and produced. Qualitative research aims to produce rounded understandings on the basis of rich, contextual and detailed data. There is more emphasis on ‘holistic’ forms of analysis and explanation, in this sense, than on charting surface patterns, trends and correlations (Mason, 1996, p.4). In the context of the above ideas, it could be argued that quantitative research methods tend to be used in survey research with a positivistic framework, and they seek to reveal causal relationships. On the other hand, qualitative research is usually described as allowing a detailed exploration of a topic of interest in which information is collected by a researcher through case studies, ethnographic work, interviews, and so on. Strengths of qualitative research: • Qualitative research can feel authentic because they directly deal with participants’ own views or observations. • Qualitative research methods are concerned with opinions, feelings and experiences, and describe the social phenomena with the interpretation of particular research participants’. • It can also provide an opportunity to represent a feminist sensitivity (Bryman, 2004, p.287) such as domestic violence or gender inequality. 4 • It is useful to understand the complex phenomena such as ethnic racial problems or immigrant people problems in Canada etc. Weaknesses of qualitative research: • Qualitative research methods objectively verifiable such as, focus group discussion, ethnography etc. • It is very time consuming and can last for months or even years such as ethnographical study. • Sometimes qualitative researchers interpret their data according to his or her observation which may likely to reflect with some biasness. • Data analysis is often time consuming and so on. Mixed method research: For decades, scholars in the social sciences have made use of mixed method research that is, combining both qualitative and quantitative data in a single study. The mixing of research methods has been given many names including multiple methods, blended research, multi-method, triangulated studies, and mixed research. In business, mixed methods and multi-methods research are commonly used as in the same labels. However, some scholars argued that multi method research involves multiple types of qualitative inquiry (e.g. interviews and observations) or multiple types of quantitative inquiry (e.g. surveys and experiments) and mixed methods which involve the mixing of the two types of data such as qualitative and quantitative data in a single study ( Johnson, Onwuegbuzie, & Turner, 2007) Mixed methods research is the type of research in which are searcher or team of researchers combines elements of qualitative and quantitative research approaches (e.g., use of qualitative and quantitative viewpoints, data collection, analysis, inference techniques) for the broad purpose of breadth and depth of understanding and corroboration (Johnson et al., 2007, pp. 123) Furthermore, we can conduct the above research by using the following methods, such as: Survey: 5 A survey can be thought to consist of several interconnected steps which include: defining the objectives, selecting a survey frame, determinin
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