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Qualitative and Quantitative Research - Essay Example

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In order to research this theory, the choice of methodology became the next area of exploration. Understanding the differences between the qualitative and quantitative methods needed to be understood to determine which framework to build upon. …
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Qualitative and Quantitative Research
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Qualitative and Quantitative Research

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Quantitative research methodology involves "the inquiry into a social or human problem, based on testing a theory composed of variables, measured with numbers, and analyzed with statistical procedures, in order to determine whether the predictive generalizations of the theory hold true" (Qualitative Paradigm, 1994).Qualitative research, conversely, has been defined as "multi-method in focus, involving an interpretive, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of or interpret phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them. Qualitative research involves the studied use and collection of a variety of empirical materials case study, personal experience, introspective, interactional, and visual texts-that describe routine and problematic moments and meaning in individuals' lives" (Qualitative Paradigm, 1994). Qualitative research allows the flexibility to research areas that do not always have a right or wrong answer. Instead of focusing merely on the outcome and proving a theory is founded or not, qualitative research theory is based on the knowledge that the path itself is as important as arriving at the destination. One of the leading factors for determining to use the qualitative research methodology lies in the fact that the subject of the research itself is newly emerging. The question of the E-vote and the motivation or rationale for its continued support by politicians even after adverse, serious security issues have been brought to light allows for the emergence of the principal agent theory. The benefit of using qualitative research methodology in this particular topic lies also in its greatest weakness - the lack of substantive information and previous research. As it is such a recent topic it has not been, to any extent, researched especially from the political motivation framework. This lends itself to the exploratory, systematic approach of qualitative research as opposed to the fixed methodology of quantitative research.
The use of qualitative research in investigating the motivational factors behind the implementation of the electronic voting and the use of the DRE, in particular, from the perspective of those able to exert authority over the process, is the preferred methodology for a variety of reasons. Qualitative research affords a more all encompassing knowledge base for exploration as direct interaction with those having an 'intimate familiarity' with the subject matter leads to a greater depth of understanding than other methodologies afford (Lofland 1976). Rather than merely theorizing the causal effect of the implementation of e-voting systems may have been largely based on the agent-principle theory and relying on empirical study alone to support this, the qualitative approach accommodates for the unforeseen and unexpected occurrences which typify human experiences (Taylor, 1977).
The reasoning behind the support of DRE use by politicians and their unwillingness or inability to extricate themselves from the volatility of the political ramifications once severe security issues began to emerge is further supportive of a qualitative approach to research. The complex nature of the questions being investigated involves examination of complex social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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