The Researcher Role

Qualitative research uses broad questions and data collection of images, video, and words to analyze and reveal themes.  The intent is to understand human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior.  The aim is to investigate a question without quantifiable measures.  This method of research is often used as a method of exploratory studies.  John W. Creswell wrote a qualitative inquiry on research and design and challenged researchers to chose from five approaches.  He encouraged, “Those undertaking qualitative studies have a baffling number of choices of approaches.  One can gain a sense of this diversity by examining several approaches”. (1)    He presents the characteristics of incorporating qualitative research into projects and published studies.  The major characteristics presented are:

  1. The researcher conducts the study in a natural setting in the field
  2. The researcher uses his or her original instrument of research to gather data
  3. The researcher ensures to collect multiple types of data
  4. The researcher utilizes both deductive and inductive reasoning
  5. The researcher divulges the perspectives of the participants and any multiple meanings
  6. The researcher discloses the context or setting of where the problem will be studied
  7. The researcher allow procedures and designs of the study to emerge naturally
  8. The researcher discusses his or her background and any influences that may shape the interpretation of the findings
  9. The researcher discloses any complex picture of the phenomenon being studied (2)

Quantitative research is a systematic empirical investigative method of quantitative properties, phenomena, and their relationships.  This technique utilizes statistical methods and relies on random structured data collection and random sampling.  The results are easy to summarize, generalize and compare.  The process requires testing the hypotheses of a theory and depending on the research question, participants can be randomly assigned to different treatments.  An example would be the researcher employing probability sampling to select participants.   Creswell shared insights on quantitative designs.  He shared that inquiries associated with quantitative research were true experiments consisting of applied behavioral designs and experimental treatments.  In addition, he listed correlation designs in which researchers used correlation statistics to measure and describe associations and relationships between multiple variables. (3)