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'Can quantitative and qualitative research methods be combined or, given the epistemological and ontological differences betwe - Essay Example

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COMBINING QUANTITATIVE AND QUALITATIVE METHODS IN ASSESSING HEALTH INEQUALITIES By Institution 15th, December 2012 Word Count: 3479 Introduction This essay will focus on whether quantitative and qualitative methods can be combined in research regarding health inequalities…
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Can quantitative and qualitative research methods be combined or, given the epistemological and ontological differences betwe
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Extract of sample "'Can quantitative and qualitative research methods be combined or, given the epistemological and ontological differences betwe"

Download file to see previous pages Both qualitative and quantitative methods have been used but in most cases, the methods have been used separately. In this essay, the focus will be on how the two methods can be used mutually to minimize errors, which result from lack of identification of possible indicators that address the health inequalities in the UK. Such indicators include less number of potential respondents, lack of use of statistical measures that confirms the strong and weak identifies of the health inequalities and unavailability of data. Therefore, using mixed methodology will enable minimization of these errors resulting in generalized results that are applicable to average group of respondents. In the recent past, there has been increased interest on combining qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, also called mixed methods, in conducting research. Researches done using qualitative and quantitative methodologies separately are at times characterized by discrepant findings. Ontology refers to the existing information about a given phenomenon. On the other hand, epistemology refers to the ways that can be used to comprehend the existing facts about phenomena. Interrelationship between epistemology and ontology plays a crucial role in research. Therefore, it is important for researchers to be conversant with how the two aspects are interlinked. The appropriateness of integrating qualitative and quantitative research in health sciences research remains a debatable issue. However, qualitative and quantitative researches have been frequently combined in conducting sociological research. Moreover, health aspects that relate to the social life are frequently examined using both qualitative and quantitative research (Pope, et al., 2007, 147-152). Quantitative and qualitative research methods are characterized by several epistemological and ontological differences. Some researchers in health argue that only quantitative methods should be used in making policies used in tackling health inequality. Health inequality can be defined as the distribution of health status across the different classes in a population. According to Foster and Allison (2004), objective data regarding the health status of a population is often unavailable or incomplete for most population. Moreover, the available data is often self-reported. Self-reported health status (SRHS) comprises of data that reports the people’s own perceptions. However, SRHS is used as a predictor of health outcomes such as the rate of mortality. Nevertheless, SRHS averts use of tools such as distribution analysis in assessing health inequality (Allison & Foster, 2004). According to Asada (2007, 19-23), the urge to use mixed research methodologies has been triggered by the complex nature of the interactions concerning health services provision. In the past, research regarding health matters was mainly done using quantitative methods. However, qualitative techniques are increasingly becoming accepted in the field of health research. Currently, qualitative methods are often used on their own (Bracken, 2010). However, there is an increasing urge to combine qualitative and quantitative research in examining health related matters. Health provision is crucial in improving the welfare of individuals. Inequalities in health provision and access to health services are a continuing problem, which has resulted in the widening of the health gap in the last two decades. Health inequalities in a given ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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