There non-straightforward and excessively theoretical, while some in the

There are two definitive
methods of research strategies in the social sciences.  The first involves systematic gathering
approaches like that of the pure sciences.  This particular research type concentrates on
target information, using questions that can be addressed yes or no, with a definition
of factors to be scrutinised.  It utilizes
deductive thinking, employing existing knowledge as a basis for defining assumptions
and inquiry to be tested.  The system is
centred on clarification with information gathered numerically using questions,
which are generally plainly characterized, enabling evidence to be collected in
the form of data.  The second method uses
interpretative strategies which concentrate on understanding what is being
explored in an extensive, all-encompassing way.  Both techniques endeavour to examine and
unveil the behavioural practices of human subjects (how and why individuals do
as they do) whilst indicating how those activities can be scrutinised to provide
recognisable results.  Interpretive designs
enable a researcher to perceive associations with the topic under scrutiny.  The interpretative gathering requires watchful
and careful examination of factors since it concentrates more on subjective
learning.  The first method exploits
quantitative processes and the second, qualitative processes.  Contrasts exist between some qualitative
researchers, who scrutinise what they have chronicled to explore ethnology,
literary feedback, and talk investigation; and some quantitative researchers,
who convey science, game theory, and measurements.  Some professionals who primarily use the
quantitative methodologies apparently dislike the new, ‘hyper-numerate’,
approaches as non-straightforward and excessively theoretical, while some in
the qualitative field supposedly view the old techniques as impressionistic and
lacking in thoroughness.

Qualitative Methods

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Qualitative
research is empirical research where the data are not in the form of numbers.
(Punch, 1998)

Qualitative
specialists employ a varied assortment of techniques to elicit profound
understandings of how individuals see their social actuality and how they behave
as a consequence. They gather evidence, through directly meeting their subjects
and ascertaining their perceptions, by examining artefacts, archives, and
social records, to the utilization of visual materials and/or individual
experiences.  Qualitative research can be
very time consuming and thus rarely involves large scale sampling of
individuals.  However an advantage of
this method is that “qualitative analysis allows for ambiguities/contradictions
in the data, which are a reflection of social reality” Denscombe (2010).

Qualitative analysts
extensively exercise interpretivist, emic, inductive and constructionist
approaches.  Interpretivist or emic
approaches include signifying and moving toward the examination, or portrayal,
of a specific dialect or culture in its innateness outside of any external
influences.  This has bearing in Peace
and Conflict Studies which will be examined later.  Subjective research is multimethod in centre, employing
interpretive, naturalistic ways to deal with its topic.  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” Denzin and
Lincoln (1994).

An inductive
approach attempts to generate new theories emerging from the information
collected.  Constructionist approaches
exploit theory of knowledge in social sciences and communication theory that
scrutinises the creation of jointly constructed interpretations of the world
that shape reasons for shared assumptions about what is and is not real.

Most
subjective researchers regard theories as subjects that can be tested because
of what is produced after the gathering and investigation of information
collected.  Silverman (1993) argues that “in
more recent times practitioners of qualitative research have become
increasingly interested in the testing of theories and that this is reflection
of its growing maturity” Bryman (2016).

No single
technique in qualitative research trumps the alternatives as it has no
hypothesis or worldview which is particularly its own and uses strategies and
systems to frame constructivism into social investigations.  It can be particularly relevant to Marxism,
Feminism and Ethnic Studies. It is applied to many disciplines in academic work.
The issue of preparing and supervision is especially important to this
particular subjective research in which the specialist can be viewed as the
‘research instrument’ and will regularly be working in relative seclusion. To guarantee
that concurred models are met, it might be fundamental for ‘ethics committees’
to incorporate or allude to experienced researchers while evaluating qualitative
research recommendations or considerations.

Quantitative Methods

Statistics are
the triumph of the quantitative method, and the quantitative method is the
victory of sterility and death Belloc (1940).

Quantitative
research accumulates information in numerical form which can be classified in
rank order.  This information can be used
to build charts and tables of relatively straightforward, but robust, information.
 Quantitative researchers attempt to
establish patterns of behaviour and incident across different settings and contexts.
Simplypsychology.org (2017) summarises that “quantitative research tests a
theory and ultimately supports or rejects it”.  Quantitative research has an affinity for the
characteristics of positivism and epistemology.  Positivism identifies with a philosophical
framework perceiving just that which can be deductively checked or which is capable
of being proved mathematically.  Epistemology
is a science dedicated to the disclosure of the best possible techniques for
securing and approving learning of social reality along with verifying research
findings.

The objective
in quantitative research is to determine the connection between one element,
called an ‘independent variable’ and another, referred to the ‘outcome or
dependent variable,’ inside a populace.  Quantitative
research constructs are either illustrative (which means subjects are typically
estimated once) or exploratory, where subjects are tested more than once. A detailed
report determines the relationship between factors or variables and an
exploratory or experimental research task determines causality (the connection between
circumstances and end results).

Quantitative
research includes a deductive approach. The deductive approach is the point at
which a speculation is produced from an existing theory.  Beginning with a social theory that is
observed to be coercive it is then proved or disproved with data.  This approach moves from a more broad level
to a more particular one.  A deductive
approach, in dealing with investigation, is centred on logical examination. The
analyst thinks about what others have done, peruses existing speculations and
after that tests hypotheses that advance from those existing theories. The most
widely recognized origins of quantitative information incorporate surveys,
observations, and secondary information.  Studies can be directed on the web, by
telephone or face to face and depend on comparable inquiries being asked
similarly too many individuals.  Perceptions
may either include checking the circumstances that a specific paradox occurs,
for example, how frequently a specific word or response is utilized as a part
of meetings and surveys, or coding observational information to make an
interpretation of it into numbers.  Optional
information incorporates reviews or other expansive information bases or
previous field studies.

A variety of
procedures exist to break down quantitative information, from straightforward
diagrams to demonstrate the information through to thorough examination of
connections between at least two elements to statistical understanding.  Different procedures incorporate cluster
analysis, conducive for distinguishing homogeneity between gatherings of
subjects where there is no obvious hypothesis, and theory testing, to recognize
whether there are differentials between subject groups.

Strengths and Weakness of Qualitative
Methods

Subjective
techniques are particularly suitable for questions where pre-emptive loss of
information will thwart disclosure.  Given
that the desire is to gain information from subjects capturing their
experiences along with the meanings they attach to and their interpretations of
them, researchers needs strategies that will take into account their exposure
to the process.  This is because there
needs to be a mechanism that allows justification of their interpretations of
and the actual implications of asking them to relay the narrative of their
experiences. Simply put “qualitative methods have in common the goal of
generating new ways of seeing existing data” (Atieno 2009:16).

Along these
lines subjective research can disentangle and survey information without
devastating the intricacy and substance of it.  Due to close researcher association, an
insider’s perspective of the field can be gathered.  This enables the analyst to discover nuances
and complexities that are frequently missed by logical, more positivistic
enquiries.  Subjective portrayals can
assume the critical part of proposing conceivable connections, causes, impacts
and dynamic procedures.

Subjective
research employs an expressive, account style which can be of specific advantage
to the researcher as she or he could investigate subjective reports to examine types
of learning that may some way or another be remote, increasing new
understanding.  “The goal of your
research then is less to test what is already known (e.g. theories already
formulated in advance), but to discover and develop the new and to develop
empirically grounded theories” (Flick, U., 2009:15).

Qualitative
strategies can provide sophistication and detail in that they can provide
mechanisms, along with checks and balances, for recording dispositions,
emotions and practices. They can provide transparency by urging individuals to elaborate
on recounting their experiences and examining aspects not initially considered.
An examination of subjects’ individual encounters can offer explanations on why
they act in certain ways and the emotions that may have been encountered by
doing so.  Qualitative methods endeavour
to maintain a critical distance from pre-judgements and if explored in tandem
with quantitative information can formulate opinion as to why specific answers
and reactions are given to surveys and polls.

However this
can be a ‘double edged sword’ in that by using qualitative methods both the
researcher and the subject can be exposed to very sensitive, emotional and
emotive information and circumstances especially when addressing the personal
consequences and effects of conflict.  Stories
and accounts can have lasting impacts on some researchers and strategies need
to be adopted to cope with the potential fallout of doing qualitative
work.  Rager (2005b) calls for “greater
attention to those issues among those preparing to conduct qualitative studies
as well as counselling, debriefing with peers and journal writing as strategies
to address compassion fatigue that may result from studying emotional
subjects”.

A further
issue that may emerge is the requirement for ‘reflexivity’ in the researcher.
This includes assessing and carefully examining the subject content and the
impact of the identity or closeness of the researcher on what is being
explored.  Additionally “peace and
conflict studies researchers must grapple with their tendency to side with the
“underdogs” against perceived oppressors” (Barron 1999: Lumsden 2013: Seal,
2012) cited in (Brouneus, K 2011).

Consequently
the nature of qualitative research is profoundly reliant on the aptitudes of
the researcher and can be impacted by personal characteristics and biases and
the presence of the researcher in the process.  This can influence or impair the answers and reactions
of subjects.  Given the sensitive nature
that is frequently chosen by qualitative researchers ethics have an exceptionally
important part to play.  The exploration
proposition generally must be passed by ‘ethics committees’ and this might be
an extremely tedious process, thus hampering progress.  It is possible that if the proposition fails
the ethics test any past work committed to it will have been squandered
requiring another approach.

The quantity
of data generated by qualitative methods makes interpretation and analysis
quite time-consuming.  In spite of the
fact that not a huge amount of individuals are examined, exploration of the
findings can create much information to be recorded and presented.  For instance one hour of a recorded interview
may take up to six hours to transcribe.  This can be further compounded by Issues on
confidentiality and anonymity which can cause problems during presentation of
findings.  The problem of adequate
validity or reliability is sometimes a major criticism.  Because of the subjective nature of qualitative
research information and its foundation in single settings, it may be difficult
to apply models of steadfast quality and legitimacy.  For instance, considering the proximity of the
researcher during qualitative processes, it is not really conceivable to repeat
subjective examinations.   Additionally,
settings, circumstances, occasions, conditions and cooperation’s cannot be
repeated to any meaningful degree and generalisations cannot be applied to a
wider context than the one studied with any confidence.  Analysis of qualitative data is difficult and
expert knowledge of an area is necessary to try to interpret it and great care
must be taken when doing so, for example, if looking for clear causes of
conflict.

Strengths and Weakness of Quantitative Methods

When using
quantitative methods with a robust well-crafted process and where the sample
effectively represents the study population the results can be effectively
generalised.  They offer scientific
objectivity.  Hence “quantitative data
can be interpreted with statistics and since statistics are based on the
principles of mathematics, the quantitative approach is viewed as
scientifically objective, and rational” (Carr, 1994; Denscombe, 2010).

A very strong
point in favour of using quantitative methods is that it provides data that is
descriptive, thus enabling the researcher to capture a ‘snapshot’ of a user
population.  However there can be
difficulty in interpreting the data.  For
example a simple opinion poll might find that an overwhelming number of the
population find a government ineffective, but it doesn’t necessarily find the
reasons for that position.  However the
nature of and a further strength of quantitative methods is that the researcher
can be divorced from the subjects providing the data for analysis thereby
ensuring he or she is not in a position to influence study results.  This detachment can take the form of postal
questionnaires or surveys being carried out by support workers rather than the
researcher.  Bryman (2016) summarises this
as “the strength of such a detached approach is avoidance of researcher
involvement, guarding against biasing the study and ensuring objectivity”.

By using quantitative
methods the data can be very consistent, precise and reliable.  However it sometimes may not be robust enough
to explain complex issues.  Related
secondary data that can support the findings obtained by initial research may
not always be available or may be very difficult to access or in some cases
access may be denied by those in possession of it.  Using quantitative methods generally means the
results will represent the population studied as the subjects selected to
ensure this will reflect its make up in terms of age, gender, demographics and
other factors.  The results of surveys,
questionnaires and other tools of quantitative methods can be concisely
documented enabling other researchers to assess their validity.  These often standardised approaches allow for
replication and hence findings that can be compared.  

A broad range
of statistical tools are available when analysing quantitative data.  Simple graphs and charts can be used which
are quickly and easily readable and which will show tests of correlations
between two or more items. 

An extensive
variety of measurable systems to examine quantitative information are available
to the researcher. They are listed on www.skillsyouneed.com
(2017) as “from simple graphs to show the data through tests of correlations
between two or more items, to statistical significance. Other techniques
include cluster analysis, useful for identifying relationships between groups
of subjects where there is no obvious hypothesis, and hypothesis testing, to
identify whether there are genuine differences between groups”.

When using
quantitative methods there is often no information on contextual factors to
avail of and interpret the results or to expound variations in demeanour
between subjects with similar characteristics. 
The administration of a structured questionnaire can create an unnatural
situation that may alienate some respondents. 
Studies can sumptuous and time-consuming, and even the preliminary
results may not available for a long period of time.  Research methods are quite stringent and
cannot be adjusted once the process has started and untested variables may
account for program impacts.  Errors in
the hypotheses tested may yield misimpressions of program quality or
influential factors.  Quantitative
research can be financially very costly and in many cases cannot be carried out
singlehandedly potentially adding to the financial costs.  For large scale projects funding needs to be
in place to pay workers to carry out surveys and questionnaires.

Conclusion

All research should
be scientifically sound. It should be properly designed and carried out by
researchers with adequate levels of expertise and supervision.  It should also be ‘worth doing’, in the sense
that the results are likely to lead to tangible benefit.

Qualitative
and quantitative research has philosophical roots in the naturalistic and the
positivistic theories, respectively.  Newman and Benz (1998) describe this as
“virtually all qualitative researchers, regardless of their theoretical
differences, reflect some sort of individual phenomenological perspective.  Most quantitative research approaches,
regardless of their theoretical differences, tend to emphasize that there is a
common reality on which people can agree”.

Some argument exists
amongst qualitative and quantitative analysts.  It has its founding in presumptions about what
reality is and whether it is quantifiable.  At its core are differences of opinion about
how it can be best understood what is known and whether it is by using
objective or subjective methods.  The
subjective, naturalistic approach is utilized when observing and translating
reality with the aim of building a theory that will clarify what is
experienced.  The quantitative approach
starts with a hypothesis or theory and tests the legitimacy or other of it.  Numerous qualitative analysts sit easily with
the post-positivist convention normal to much contemporary quantitative
research.  Many quantitative specialists use
subjective data as the basis for exploring and experimenting, acknowledging there
are potential impediments and complexities beneath the information

Quantitative
and qualitative methods can be combined and used simultaneously in what is
known as a mixed method approach which is accepted by many but is still
controversial for some in the field of social science. However it is argued
that the mixed methods approach offers triangulation. Bryman (2016) states that
“triangulation or greater validity refers to the traditional view that
quantitative and qualitative research might be combined to triangulate findings
in order that they may be mutually corroborated”.

It could be
argued that quantitative and qualitative data are, at some level, exceptionally
difficult to separate.  Neither stands
alone nor can be seen to be completely divorced from the other.  There exists a very close connection between
the two and good results are arrived at by both methods.  Mixed methods research has gained prominence
in social sciences since the 1980s and the combination of the quantitative and
qualitative must surely mean the discipline can only be the better for it.  As claimed by Newman and Benz (1998) “the key
issue, we believe, should be improving the quality of research through an
integrated way of viewing qualitative and quantitative research methods.  Both paradigms coexist in the world of
inquiry; and together they form an interactive continuum”.