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Management Research Methods - Essay Example

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Section A Management and Business research is dominated by two approaches often referred to as qualitative and quantitative. Outline what you see as the main differences between these two research approaches, with particular reference to philosophical underpinning…
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Management Research Methods
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Download file to see previous pages Numerical data are exact and specific; therefore, their treatment is necessarily objective. On the other hand, qualitative data are descriptive and experiential, and therefore their treatment is subjective. There are necessary differences in the philosophies that govern quantitative and qualitative research methods. These philosophies define the world-view the method assumes when conducting research. The quantitative method is grounded in positivism, which asserts that the knowledge that is gathered through research can only be significant if it can be measured. It proceeds from the theory of Auguste Comte, the French philosopher, that the world is an external environment that can be seen externally and measured objectively. Opinions, impressions, and perceptions that cannot be measured are not significant in a positivist approach (Zawawi, 2007, p. 3). Qualitative theory, on the other hand, is based on the philosophy of phenomenology. This philosophy states that the world and its reality derive their meaning from people (Husserl, 1946 in Zawawi, 2007, p. 3). The experiences of people concerning certain phenomena provide their significance, thus their subjective understanding of the event or phenomenon is what comprises knowledge. This is why qualitative approach uses cases, descriptions and narratives to convey the knowledge gathered about an event. Comparing qualitative and quantitative approaches highlights certain important contrasts. One is that the quantitative method is deductive while the quantitative method is inductive. The deductive approach begins from established theory that relates to the topic being researched, and then goes on to seek evidence of its application in the real world. A hypothesis is tested based on the chosen theory, then situations are tested to see if they comply with the theory. On the other hand, the qualitative method makes use of the inductive approach, which begins with the focus of the research – the issue or problem, or the organization under study – and at the end of the research develops a theory that would explain the phenomena observed (Greener, 2008, p. 16). Furthermore, the quantitative approach is positivist while the qualitative is interpretivist. The positivist approach is characterized by the use of the scientific inquiry most closely associated with the natural sciences. The positivist approach emphasizes those observations that may be made with the senses, and promotes the process of experimentation, of statistically proving or disproving hypotheses, and to explain the discrepancies or deviations from the rule. Positivism emphasizes the objective or normative. On the other hand, quantitative techniques lean more towards interpretivism, which in turn is closest to the social sciences. This branch of the sciences attempts to interpret social phenomena in a way that explains consistently their causes and effects (Greener, 2008, p. 16 -17). There are many other differences between the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research, but these are their most important contrasts. Section B With reference to Qualitative approaches describe the common methods used for data collection and analysis. (1000 words) According to Creswell (1998), qualitative research is defined as: …an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyses words, reports ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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