What is the best type of data to use when doing research in your field of study: qualitative or quantitative - Essay Example

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This paper seeks to answer the question as to what is the best type of data to use when doing research in the field of study of international relations – quantitative or qualitative. I will begin by first attempting to distinguish between quantitative and qualitative data. And…
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What is the best type of data to use when doing research in your field of study: qualitative or quantitative
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Download file to see previous pages qualitative versus quantitative data, we turn to Punch (2005: 3), who defined the terms as follows: “Quantitative research is empirical research where the data are not in the form of numbers. Qualitative research is empirical research where the data is in the form of numbers.” In quantitative data, there are very precise measurements designed to give the research a definite numerical structure. On the other hand, in qualitative research, the emphasis on collection and interpretation of data is more in words rather than quantification. It allows orientating research to the generating of theory rather than theory’s testing, presuming that a social reality is a “constantly shifting emergent property of individuals’ creation.” (Chynoweth, 2012: 29). Qualitative research gives a lot more elbow room for description and nuances, explaining phenomenon by looking at human processes, relations and interactions that may not be reduced to numerical values. It is also better situated to explore political contours and dynamics, and various modalities of human behavior.
Turning now to international relations, international relations is mainly concerned with how sovereign states interact with each other, how diplomacy is institutionalized and how power is wielded by one state against another, or by a group of states against another group of states. Sovereignty in and of itself is a contested concept. To quote Thompson, (1995: 213) “it is not surprising that International Relations theorists make conflicting and sometimes diametrically opposed claims about the status of sovereignty in the post Cold War era.” Research on international relations would most likely involve how states conduct themselves with and against each other, how rules are crystallized into norms, how historical antecedents affect present principles. It may look at broad theories of international relations, but it may also look into specific issues or particularized events, such as for example ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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