Qualitative-Quantitative Research Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum

Qualitative-Quantitative Research Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum

Qualitative-Quantitative Research Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum

Qualitative-Quantitative Research Methodology: Exploring the Interactive Continuum

Synopsis

Rejecting the artificial dichotomy between qualitative and quantitative research strategies in the social and behavioral sciences, Isadore Newman and Carolyn R. Benz argue that the two approaches are neither mutually exclusive nor interchangeable; rather, the actual relationship between the two paradigms is one of isolated events on a continuum of scientific inquiry. Through graphic and narrative descriptions, Newman and Benz show research to be a holistic endeavor in the world of inquiry. To clarify their argument, they provide a diagram of the "qualitative-quantitative interactive continuum" showing that qualitative analysis with its feedback loops can easily modify the types of research questions asked in quantitative analysis research and that the quantitative analysis results and its feedback can change what will be asked qualitatively. In their model for research - an "interactive continuum" - Newman and Benz emphasize four major points: the research question dictates the selection of research methods; consistency between question and design can lead to a method of critiquing research studies in journals; the interactive continuum model is built around the place of theory; and the assurance of "validity" of research is central to all studies.

Excerpt

Qualitative and quantitative research strategies and their underlying presuppositions have been increasingly debated since the early 1980s as though one or the other should eventually emerge as superior. We reject the dichotomy assumed by this debate.

We take the position that the two philosophies are neither mutually exclusive (i.e., one need not totally commit to either one or the other) nor interchangeable (i.e., one cannot merge methodologies with no concern for underlying assumptions). Rather, we present them as interactive places on a methodological and philosophical continuum based on the philosophy of science. A researcher tests a theory and, as results feed back to the original hypothesis, both inductive and deductive processes are operational at different points in time; qualitative and quantitative methods are invoked at different points in time; and feedback loops facilitate maximizing the strengths of both methodologies.

We intend this book to meet the general needs of two audiences: research designers and research consumers. First, it is imperative that researchers understand both the determinative nature of the research questions they ask and the assumptions on which they build their designs. This book is intended to assist in building effective designs that are question-based. Second, sophisticated consumers of research need ways to assess the truth value of research findings. The practical approach to criticizing studies will enhance the quality of the judgments research consumers are able to make.

A unique contribution to research practitioners and consumers, the book is founded on the underlying philosophical assumptions of . . .

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