Research methodologies, like salt and pepper, or peanut butter and jelly, come in two distinct, recognizable, metaphorical flavors: Qualitative and Quantitative. Each comes with its own ideas and philosophies, strengths and weaknesses, proponents, and detractors.

Quantitative research emerged during the Scientific Revolution as a way to examine, observe, and analyze natural phenomena. Quantitative research is:

  • Numeric—Data is collected in numerical form and is analyzed using statistical means
  • Deductive—It begins with a particular point of view (hypothesis) and sets out to prove/disprove it
  • Classic—It mirrors the “Scientific Method.”

Qualitative research emerged in the last half of the 20th century as a counterpoint to quantitative methodologies. Qualitative research is:

  • Non-Numeric—It is concerned with the written description, rather than numerical analysis
  • Inductive—Research questions emerge from the collected data
  • Social—It is concerned with people in social situations
  • Field Research Oriented—The research is conducted on-site, in the field where the social situation is taking place
  • Observational—Data is collected largely through observations of the actions of others
  • Participatory—The researcher is often a participant in the events he/she is observing/recording/researching
  • Coded— Coding is the chief analysis tool used by qualitative researchers

In this week’s Unit, you will determine, define, and write up the data collection methods for your applied research proposal. You will write in the future tense saying “the researcher will…” as you have not completed the research yet and you are not permitted to use the first person. You will also start your PLC work assignment.

Discussion Question

The concept of risk is generally understood to refer to the combination of the probability and magnitude of some future harm. According to this understanding, risks are considered “high” or “low” depending on whether they are more (or less) likely to occur, and whether the harm is more (or less) serious.

In research involving human subjects, risk is a central organizing principle, a filter through which protocols must pass; research evaluated by IRBs that presents greater risks to potential research subjects will be expected to include greater or more comprehensive protections designed to reduce the possibility of harm occurring.

According to the Common Rule, a study presents minimal risk if “the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests” (Belmont Report, para 6) Although the concept of minimal risk remains controversial in academic and scholarly discussion, it is widely used to determine which set of protections are to be required for particular research protocols.

  • All research contains risks. What are some types of risks you think could happen from your research? Do you think your participant will have any stress when completing any of your data collection techniques? (support your answer with the readings from this Unit as well as applied knowledge from your own experience).

Reading Assignment

1. Data collection strategies II: Qualitative research. (n.d.). California State University.

  • The above website from CSU-Long Beach describes the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research and what data collection methods are applied to each method.

2. Trochim, W. M. K, (2006). Descriptive statistics.

  • The resource above is a review of descriptive statistics is provided. Along with examples of how to complete descriptive statistics in your own research study.