Comparison of Research Methods - Term Paper Example

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This paper "Comparison of Research Methods" discusses many approaches under qualitative research and this paper attempts to compare and contrast eleven of these methods. The paper focuses on qualitative research approaches which are words and observation to represent reality…
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Comparison of Research Methods
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Download file to see previous pages  Focus group is another approach to collecting qualitative data. This is a carefully planned discussion tailored to obtain perceptions on a specific topic or area of interest. The process of information gathering under this method involves the moderator who controls the debate and initiates discussion topics, the note-taker, and the participants (Boeije, 2010). Focus group has almost the same merits as the interviewing method. It generates results at a relatively fast rate, has high face validity and allows the moderator (who assumes an almost similar role as the interviewer) to explore unanticipated issues. However, this method has its fair share of demerits; the main ones are that it has less experimental control, requires a well-trained interviewer and it may be difficult setting up the group (Rubin & Babbie, 2010). Participant observation requires that the researcher becomes a part and parcel of the group under observation. This approach requires a lot of patience and may sometimes require months or years of observation. This is because the researcher has to be accepted and become a natural part of the group being observed. It is only by achieving this cohesiveness that one can ascertain gathered data as of natural phenomenon (Delamont & Jones, 2012). If successfully carried out, this method represents the best approach in gathering data on a natural phenomenon as there is absolutely no chance of manipulation or influence. The major disadvantage of this approach is that it may take the researcher a long time to gather data. Additionally, it is at times not possible to record all data as the researcher may lose focus as he assumes the same natural roles as the focus group (Holloway, Wheeler & Holloway, 2010). Ethnography is the study of social interactions, behaviors, and perceptions that take place within social groupings. This approach is said to have grown from anthropological studies that focused on small cultural groupings in the early 20th century. Under ethnographical studies, the researcher becomes an active participant and takes extensive notes (DeWalt & DeWalt, 2011). Participant observation discussed earlier, is considered an approach under ethnographical approaches. This is mainly because it entails a researcher assuming the role of the participant as they go on with their duty of data gathering and data recording. Ethnographical approaches allow for gathering richly detailed data and also provide the researcher with a chance to participate in unscheduled events (Thomas, Nelson & Silverman, 2011). The downside of ethnographical approaches is that the researcher may ignore activities that happen out of the public eye and he may also be tempted to rely on information provided by a few key informants. Consequently, reliance on informants permeates bias as these may not have the objectivity while reporting on the social context. Biographical research is the compilation and analysis of an intensive report detailing an entire life or a part of life, through an in-depth, unstructured interview. Biographical research places an individual within a nexus of social connection, past events, and lifetime experiences  ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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