Which research method?

12Mar04

Dina writes about the ongoing debate on qualitative vs quantitative studies (her link through James Robertson). Having read both sides of the argument, she says I suspect both are a little extreme – and call for a case-by-case decision.

I was naturally intrigued; after all this is a question that all researchers keep asking and answering all the time. My own personal experience has taught me to steer clear of such debate because to me the discussion is pointless. To put is most blandly, both methods have a lot going for them, and a lot not too. And selection of research methodology is entirely case-dependent, as Dina says.

My first eye-opener was at the LSE where I was sent to sessions on quantitative methods kicking and screaming. I was so convinced of my own niche as a qualitative researcher that it took me a long time to realize how incomplete my knowledge, and therefore expertise was. We want you to be a fully trained social researcher, said my Prof there. And he went on, how can you say now whether the kind of work you will get will be qualitative or quantitative in nature….. True words, indeed……

If there is one thing that all these years of research experience has taught me, it is ‘methods’ is as ‘methods’ does. And it is fairly naive to believe that any one method is essentially superior to the other, generally speaking. But, I also know there is no end to this debate….. it goes on….

***

technorati tags: ,

Advertisements


One Response to “Which research method?”

  1. 1 selwyn stanley

    Hello,
    Agreed that both methods have their own merits (and de-merits) and I would personally prefer an integrated methodology. However, social science researchers in India are wary of the Qual approach since conventionally there has been a reliance on number crunching. I had pointed this out in an articel penned by me in The Indian Journal of Social work titled
    CLINICAL SOCIAL WORK RESEARCH: QUANTITATIVE VERSUS QUALITATIVE METHODOLOGY. THE INDIAN JOURNAL OF SOCIAL WORK, VOL 65, ISSUE No. 3, July, 2004.
    I am now writing another article on these lines. Do you have access to any scientific literature on “Qualitative social research in India’? That would be helpful as background information..or any other resources on this theme? Look forward to your response.

    selwynstanley@gmail.com



%d bloggers like this: