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Assumptions and Design - Essay Example

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Research designs are of three types: quantitative designs, which center on setting and validating theory and hypothesis; qualitative designs, which center on creating and explaining theories, and mixed-method designs, which are a grouping of qualitative and quantitative…
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Assumptions and Design Research designs are of three types: quantitative designs, which center on setting and validating theory and hypothesis; qualitative designs, which center on creating and explaining theories, and mixed-method designs, which are a grouping of qualitative and quantitative approaches (Creswell 2003). The quantitative design depends on a large volume of data, which is then analyzed statistically, for instance, using tools such as Statistical Package for Social Science (SPSS) or Excel. Conversely, qualitative designs employ comprehensive analysis of a lesser number of respondents. The researcher’s basic beliefs or assumptions guide him/her about research methods, including the researcher’s ontological beliefs (beliefs about the nature of reality), epistemological beliefs (beliefs about what is possible to know), and axiological beliefs (beliefs about what is ethical and the role of values in research). Armour Peterson article employs qualitative design to study post homicide experience of family members of homicide victims (Armour, 2002).
Qualitative research design, such as the one employed by Armour, is designed to riposte to questions regarding the intricate nature of occurrences with the aim of explaining, describing, and understanding the phenomena being researched (Creswell, 2003). The author beliefs that the relatives of homicide victims are an ignored lot and their post homicide experiences are molded by the social ambiance and the superiority of the government’s schema for justice. The choice of qualitative method is further supported by the author’s belief that attention to the needs of this population is limited, and hence the need for a qualitative method to generate knowledge and explain various aspects. Since only very few empirical researches exist about post homicide experiences of the family members of the homicide victims, the researcher had to record words and phrases and then look for meaning, concepts or theories. In addition, the post homicide experiences of each family vary greatly; the researcher had to adopt a qualitative design since full and rich data is scarce and is not obtainable through quantitative studies. Data is best obtained through taking comprehensive notes, recording conversations and writing detailed observations.
Mixed methods would combine both quantitative and qualitative approaches. In applying mixed methods, the philosophical assumption would be that findings about post homicide experiences could be generalized across all the families of the homicide victims. To incorporate mixed methods in this study, an exploratory mixed method approach would be used. Qualitative data is collected first, and based on these findings, quantitative data is collected to answer research questions that arise from initial qualitative findings. For instance, by exploring the six themes identified through the rich qualitative research new research questions emerge that can be answered through a quantitative research study. More research would be done on other groups of families such as those from other ethnic groups and those who do not use services for homicide survivors. This is because this research is not representative of all families of homicide victims since the respondents were predominantly composed of Anglo-White families who use services for homicide survivors (Armour, 2002).
In conclusion, the decision to use quantitative, qualitative or mixed method design to research is based primarily on the research questions being asked. Qualitative research is based on the assumption that reality either is constructed or is non-existent. In qualitative data analysis, there is a widespread dependence on words and images to delineate rich meaning. Mixed method design is utilized when both quantitative and qualitative dada offer a better, more meticulous understanding of the research issue being studied.
Armour, M. D. (2002). Journey of family members of homicide victims: a qualitative study of their post homicide experience. American journal of Orthopsychiatry, Vol. 72. No. 3, 372-382.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed method approaches, second edition. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications, Inc. Read More
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