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Research methods - Essay Example

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Section A The success of management and business research projects is depended on the choice of the appropriate approach, meaning the framework on which each research project is based taking into consideration its needs and the resources available. Every research project is likely to be based on one of the following two research approaches: qualitative or quantitative…
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Research methods

Download file to see previous pages... At the next level, the precise structure and the methods used for data collection and analysis are expected to be less clear in qualitative studies compared to quantitative ones (Kumar 2010). As a result, a misunderstanding may often results in regard to the characteristics of a qualitative study; in certain qualitative studies, their design is identical with the data collection method, as, for example, in the case of the participant observation’ (Kumar 2010, p.104). Further differences can be identified regarding the philosophical underpinning of the two approaches. More specifically, the qualitative studies are usually characterized as ‘naturalistic’, being depended on social evidence, while the quantitative studies are ‘positivistic’ (Rapport 2004, p.2), being depended on specific facts which can be analysed using tools that can ‘produce generalisable observations’ (Rapport 2004, p.2). On the other hand, qualitative studies are likely to emphasize on the relationship between the causes and the effects of particular events while the qualitative studies are based on the analysis of human behaviour, as reflected in the responses of participants to a series of events. In accordance with Lee (1999) one of the key characteristics of the qualitative approach is that it is ‘context – free’ (Lee 1999, p.8), meaning that it is not based on empirical results but it rather refers to findings that reflect the local conditions, as related to a series of events. From this point of view, researchers using the qualitative approach give emphasis on the responses of participants to specific events (Saunders, Lewis and Thornhill 2009); in opposition, in quantitative studies researchers tend to focus on the development of empirical results, which need to be fully justified, as of the methods used for generating them, and verified; in qualitative approach, the researcher does not have such concerns since the qualitative study can refer to the views of a limited number of participants (Hansen 2007); these views do not have to be tested as of their validity as in the case of quantitative studies. Moreover, Elliott (2005) noted that qualitative and quantitative approaches can be characterized as ‘divergent genres’ (Elliott 2005, p.184), based on different methods of data presentation; in quantitative studies, efforts need to be made for persuading the readers on the validity of results (Elliott 2005, p.184). In qualitative studies there is no such pressure; the reader has to be informed on the responses of the participants without further explanations on the characteristics of the data and the process involved (Elliott 2005). Section B In the context of the qualitative approach a series of different data collection methods can be used, in accordance with the research aims, the availability of sources and the target population. In the study of Bryman and Bell (2007) emphasis is given on the high range of data collection methods that respond to the requirements of the qualitative approach. Reference is made to five of the most known methods of data collection as used in qualitative studies: a) the participant observation in which the research has to observe the response of a group of persons to particular events; usually, the social group chosen ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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