Research Methodology IV BTech IT Faculty of Informatics & Design (FID) Cape Peninsula University (CPUT) Lecturer: Nhlanhla Mlitwa
Research Approaches:Qualitative vs. Quantitative Methodologies
… Qualitative Studies The study of human action where research is conducted - in the natural setting of social actors [using natural observation & field research, including what is called “participant observation”] - with a focus on the process rather than outcome - with in-depth understanding of actions & events as the primary aim - in thorough descriptions with full recognition of the context - Often, following an inductive approach to a research process [Leading to new hypothesis & theories rather than to prove existing ones]
Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Learning about domestic violence – as in spouse on spouse beating We may choose a quantitative approach if we want to know the numbers, i.e. does it really happen, is it in a large numerical significance, etc. But if we are interested in the magnitude in terms of the damage it courses, then we will focus on experiences & feelings of the affected. This will be a qualitative study, with emphasis on descriptions of feelings, etc Using a combination of methods in one study - which strengthens its validity, is known asTriangulation
Quantitative Research All qualitative research approaches share the following features: - detailed encounter with the subject/ object of study - Selecting case/s to be studied - Openness to multiple sources of data, even if it means using multiple methods of analysing them - Flexibility in design, meaning the ability to change and amend as the direction of the study may determine. Let us look at case studies in the next slide
Qualitative Research – Case Studies Case Studies It really is an intensive investigation of a single unit (with multiple variables). They can also be taken to investigate multiple units The interaction of the unit of study/investigation or observation with the context becomes important. Thorough descriptions that account for multiple perspectives are a crucial characteristic
Case Studies • Individual Case Study involves a detailed account of one person • Community – description + analysis of patterns & aspects on community/ies • Groups – small or large • Organisations + Institutions • Countries or nations
Qualitative Data Collection Basic individual Interviews Depth individual Interviews Focus Groups Observation & Participant Observation Using Personal Documents
Research Methodology Basic Individual Interviews Face-to-face interviews: asking respondents questions orally while recording respondents’ answers. Requires ability to speak interviewee language You need to be very clear and familiar with your questions – so that you will know: - when & how to follow up - how to probe for elaborations - accurately recording of responses
Focus Groups- interviews • a carefully planned and moderated group interview. • It is designed to obtain the perceptions of the members of a selected group on a defined topic (Langford & McDonald, 2003). • One advantage of this tool is that it enables an interview of a number of people at one point and time, thus saving time and human resources. • The face-to-face characteristic allows the moderator to motivate participants to give more information than would have been the case with mailed questionnaires. • The moderator may further adjust to body language changes, facial expressions, and other signs that suggest a loss of interest – to encourage more information inflow.
Focus Group Interviews • So, you need to prepare your questions, and train the moderator to understand the background behind your questions. • Participants are chosen on the basis of their individual characteristics relative to the topic through purposive sampling where participants belonging specifically to identified groups (Morgan, 1998). • Purposive sampling according to Babbie and Mouton (2004:166) entails selecting respondents according to the purpose of the study, using the discretion of the researcher.
Focus Groups Focus Groups are still interviews, and require adherence to ethical codes of behavior. Treat them with dignity and respect. Avoid the don’t of interviews: - do not deceive participants - don’t comprise their rights to confidentiality - don’t subject them to inhumane or embarrassing experiences
Experiments • Mostly Quantitative • Most appropriate for Hypothesis Testing • Involves the measurement of the effect of independent variables on dependant variables • Perfect example of the cause and effect principle. • Limited to research questions where the researcher can MANIPULATE the condition of an INDEPENDENT VARIABLE • Using the principle of RANDOM ASSIGNMENT of “subjects” • Follows a pre-test, post test method of measurement • Talks of experiment vs. control groups in experiment research • INTERNAL VALIDITY is emphasized (only the IV affects the DV) – threats are identified and avoided • Talks of “double-blind” experiments to eliminate biased observations • EXTERNAL VALIDITY (external generalisability) makes your experiment more useful
Pre-test - Post Test Principle Experimental Group Control Group Measure Dependant Variable i.e. HIV/AIDS Awareness + responsible Sexual behavior Measure Dependant Variable Note: No Stimulus admin Administer Experiment Stimulus: Independent Variable (Training). Re-measure dependant variable Re-measure dependant variable Note: 1st step was the formulation of hypothesis – which, the experiment is now testing ()
How is it quantitative? The type of findings you are likely to find, explains the answer: - Which group is more aware than the other? - Which group is more sexually responsible than the other? - How do you tell more from less? - Your reliance on quantifiable measurements and analysis suggest that the study is quantitative. We need to look at the type of questions that are asked in typical quantitative studies.