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Topic 1: Introduction to Educational Research

6. Give an example for both quantitative and qualitative research. Explain four
differences between them.
Quantitative: For example, if you wanted to know how many of your customers
support a proposed change in your products or service and how strongly (on a
scale) they support it.
Qualitative: For example, if you are thinking of changing your branding you
would carry out qualitative research to see what emotional reactions people have
to the new identity and what they associate it with.
Quantitative Qualitative
Objective it is about numbers and
Subjective refers to the meanings,
concepts, definitions, characteristics
and descriptions of things.
Research questions: How many?
Strength of association?
- generates reliable population based
data and is well suited to establish
cause-and-effect relationships.
Research questions: What? Why?
- generates rich, detailed and valid data
that contribute to in-depth
understanding of the context.
Hard science Soft science
Literature review must be done early in
Literature review may be done as study
progresses or afterwards
Tests theory Develops theory
One reality: focus is concise and
Multiple realities: focus is complex and
Facts are value-free and unbiased Facts are value-laden and biased
Reduction, control, precision Discovery, description, understanding,
shared interpretation
Measurable Interpretive
Mechanistic: parts equal the whole Organismic: whole is greater than the
Report statistical analysis. Report rich narrative, individual
Basic element of analysis is numbers. interpretation.
Basic element of analysis is
Researcher is separate. Researcher is part of process.
Subjects Participants
Context free Context dependent
Hypothesis Research questions
Reasoning is logistic and deductive. Reasoning is dialectic and inductive
Establishes relationships, causation Describes meaning, discovery
Uses instruments Uses communications and observation
Strive for generalisation
Generalisation leading to prediction,
explanation and understanding
Strive for uniqueness
Patterns and theories developed for
Highly controlled setting: experimental
setting (outcome oriented)
Flexible approach: natural setting
(process oriented)
Sample size: n Sample size is not a concern; seeks
informal rich sample
Counts the beans Provides information as to which
beans are worth counting