Module 1 SLP discusses some of the research methods that are commonly used in the field of education. These are quantitative or qualitative in nature or use a mixed method approach. These types of research methods include the experimental research, the correlational study, the survey research, the grounded theory research, the ethnographic research, the case study method, the narrative research, the mixed method research, and the action research. This paper also discusses the characteristics of a good research problem, as well as the strengths and weaknesses of the qualitative and quantitative methods.
When forming the research question, it should be ensured that the research question is informed by the literature (Kendrick, 2012). It should also be a motivating or interesting topic that others will find interesting. The research problem should be stated completely and clearly and it should imply a project that is feasible. Moreover, the question should be stated in a manner that reflects the researcher’s open-mindedness about the solution or answer to the problem.
With regards to the strengths of quantitative research, one of its strengths is that the testing and validation is performed on existing theories with regards to the occurrence of a phenomena (“Chapter 14,” n.d.). With this method, it is also possible to construct the hypotheses before the data is collected and since the data is obtained from random samples, it is possible to generalize the findings when using large samples. Also, some methods enable the quick gathering (e.g. phone interviews) and analysis of data (i.e. use of statistical packages). The findings can be generalized when the findings are replicated on various other populations and subpopulations. The results can also be used to make quantitative predictions and it is possible to eliminate other variables in order to establish stronger cause-and-effect relationships. Also, since the findings are presented in quantitative or numerical form, they are deemed more precise; hence, are accorded with more credibility.
On the other hand, one of its weaknesses is that the categories used by the researcher or the theories formed by the researcher may not be reflective of the understandings of the local constituencies (“Chapter 14,” n.d.). The knowledge obtained may also be too general and abstract for application to specific individuals, contexts, and situations. With the researcher focused on hypothesis or theory testing rather than on theory or hypothesis generation, it is possible for the researcher to miss the occurrence of a phenomenon.
As for the strengths of qualitative data, one strength is that the data is based on the categories of meaning formed by the participants. It also enables the in-depth study of a particular number of cases, as well as the description of complex phenomena. However, it still provides the researcher with information about individual cases and also allows for the comparisons and analyses of various cases. In addition, it enables the researcher to obtain an understanding of people’s experiences about a phenomenon, which ensures that the findings are applicable in the local contexts Moreover, the qualitative method enables the study of dynamic processes and also enables the researcher to become aware of the changes that occur during the course of a study, which allows them to shift the focus of their studies.
On the other hand, one of the weaknesses of the qualitative method is that the findings may not be generalized to other populations (“Chapter 14,” n.d.). It also does not enable quantitative predictions to be made nor does it make it feasible to test theories and hypotheses with large samples. Data collection and data analysis require more time to complete compared to the quantitative method. In addition, its results are perceived as less credible than the quantitative results and the results can be influenced by the researcher’s personal idiosyncrasies and bias.
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