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P. 1
“On the face of it, there would seem to be little to the quantitative/qualitative distinction other than the fact that quantitative researchers employ measurement and qualitative researchers do not.” Bryman & Bell 2007, p.28

“On the face of it, there would seem to be little to the quantitative/qualitative distinction other than the fact that quantitative researchers employ measurement and qualitative researchers do not.” Bryman & Bell 2007, p.28

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Lecturer Nomination) Competition by Michelle Campbell. It is nominated by Lecturer Damian Gallagher of University of Ulster in the category of Business & Economics
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards (Lecturer Nomination) Competition by Michelle Campbell. It is nominated by Lecturer Damian Gallagher of University of Ulster in the category of Business & Economics

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Sep 01, 2012
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05/13/2014

 
Marketing Research MK514
Coursework 1
“On the face of it, there would seem to be little to the
quantitative/qualitative distinction other than the fact that quantitativeresearchers employ measurement and qualitative researchers do not.
 
Bryman & Bell 2007, p.28 
 
a. Prepare a document that discusses this statement. Give examples of when eachcould be conducted, on which topics and with what audiences to inform the
client’s decision making. Include a section or table on the limitations as well as
the benefits of both (1000 words).b. Create an argument for the methodology (either quantitative or qualitative) which
you believe to be the most relevant for today’s business environment. Provide
examples to support your argument and use academic references (no less than15 in total) to support your key points (1500 words).Abstract
Section A
of this paper will critically evaluate
Bryman and Bell‟s
statement (2007, p.28)through a review of literature on the subjects of qualitative and quantitative research. Thediscussion will highlight a number of fundamental differences between the two approaches,which
scholars‟
have termed
“paradigm wars”
, thereby refuting the statement made byBryman and Bell (2007, p.28).In
Section B 
an argument will be presented in favour of the pragmatic approach to researchmethodology which incorporates a mix of qualitative and quantitative research. This writer agrees with the proponents of mixed method research that it is the most relevant approach for 
today‟s business environment
.
 
2
Section AIntroduction
To critically evaluate Bryman and Bell
s statement this paper will draw upon literature toconduct a discussion on the subject of quantitative and qualitative research.
Discussion
To perform a meaningful discussion of 
Bryman and Bell‟s statement and
the subject of qualitative and quantitative research, it is necessary to explore the theoretical framework or paradigms to which these forms of research are aligned. Khun (1962) refers to paradigms aslong periods of 
normal puzzle
solving” separated by brief periods of “paradigm shift”
. Offeringan account
of Khun‟s historical description, Potter (2000, p.70)
states that:
“Normal science proceeds from a single paradigm,
a set of agreed-upon problems andmeans of solving them. However, scientific revolutions occur when a radically differentparadigm is conceived and established. Adherents of different paradigms frequentlytalk past one another because of how fundamentally
different their assumptions are.”
 Johnson and Onwuegbuzie (2004, p.14) agree that alternative paradigms are the subject of quarrel amongst many
researchers, “For more than a century, the advocates of quantitative
and qualitative research paradigms have en
gaged in ardent dispute.”
Smith (1983 citedNewman and Benz, 1998, p.112) states:
“the assumption that the two approaches are little more than alternative methodologieswhose varied employment responds simply to „what works‟ and not to epistemologicalconsiderations, must not be accepted at face value”.
 The references
to “debate” by
the authors above would suggest that there are greater distinctions between the two research paradigms than the simple presence or absence of measurement as indicated in the statement by Bryman and Bell (2007, p.28). Indeed, further reading reveals that Bryman and Bell (2007, p.29) do not stand by their earlier statement, andidentify that:
“a number of distinguishing features flow from the commitment
of the quantitativeresearch strategy to a positivist epistemology, and from the rejection of that
epistemology by the practitioners of the qualitative research strategy.”
  According to
Mackenzie and Knipe (2006, p.194) the chosen paradigm, “sets down th
e intent,
motivation and expectations for the research”, and “w
ithout nominating a paradigm as a firststep, there is no basis for subsequent choices regarding methodology, methods, literature or 
research design.”
These authors
use the term “
paradigm
to refer to the philosophical intent or 
 
3
underlying framework and motivation of the researcher with regard to research. Creswell(2003) employs
the term “
knowledge
claim”
in place of paradigm, and discusses four mainschools of thought: post-positivism (includes positivism); constructivism (also known asinterpretivism); advocacy/ participatory; and pragmatism, explored further in the table below(Creswell, 2003, p.6):
Post-positivism Constructivism/InterpretivismAdvocacy/ParticipatoryPragmatism
Determination
Reductionism
Empiricalobservation &measurement
Theory verification
Understanding
Multiple participantmeanings
Social and historicalconstruction
Theory Generation
Political
Empowermentissue-orientated
Collaborative
Change-orientated
Consequences of actions
Problem-centred
Pluralistic
Real-world practiceorientated
Sale et al. (2002, p.45) go further and suggest that:
“the
underlying assumptions of the quantitative and qualitative paradigms result indifferences which extend beyond philosophical and methodological debates. The twoparadigms have given rise to different journals, differing sources of funding, differentexper 
tise, and different methods.”
 Tashakkori and Teddlie (1998) identify three approaches to research: quantitative, qualitativeand mixed methods. In addition to the stance taken on paradigm, Creswell (2003)characterises each approach by the strategies employed for the design and method of datacollection. Therefore particular strategies and methods have a propensity to be associatedwith a particular approach. The practice of researchers adopting a primarily qualitative or quantitative approach to design and methodology in reflection of a dominant set of associatedparadigm beliefs, whether post-positivist or interpretivist is termed by Tashakkori and Teddlie(1
998) as the “mono method era”,
which spawned a debate known
as the “paradigm wars”.
Glesne and Peshkin (1992, p.9) agree that:
“because the positivist and the interpretivist paradigms rest on different assumptions
about the nature of the world, they require different instruments and procedures to findthe type of data desired.
 The literature suggests that research under the positivist or post-positivist paradigm favoursthe use of quantitative methods which include strategies of inquiry such as (though notnecessarily exclusively) experimentation, surveys, and methods of data collection that havepre-determined measures resulting in numeric data (Mackenzie and Knipe, 2006; Creswell,2003).
Described also by the term “empiricism”
(Malhotra and Birks, 2007, p.155), quantitative

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