If You Wanted To Examine Young People’s Experiences Of Homelessness, Would You Use Qualitative Methods, Or Quantitative Methods, Or A Mixed Method

965 words - 4 pages

When it comes to homelessness in Australia there has been a long debate about what the definition of homelessness is (Chamberlain & Johnson 2001). Some Australian scholars have concluded that it is impossible to define 'Homelessness continues to escape precise definition, because of its complexity and increasing diversification' (Burke 1998). Australia has three influential definitions of homelessness. The definitions are referred to as the literal, the subjectivist and the cultural definition (Chamberlain & Johnson 2001).

The literal definition equates homelessness with 'rooflessness' implying that homeless people are literally 'under the stars'. Journalists and newspaper editors found ...view middle of the document...

When examining young people’s experiences of homelessness either a qualitative methods, quantitative methods or mixed methods approach must be taken. Qualitative methods approach is an alternative to the positivist paradigm is used as the basis for the study, words are considered the elements of data, a primarily inductive approach to data analysis is used, and the theory development is the outcome of data analysis (Burns 1989, p. 46). Qualitative research has a number of main features, some being; naturalistic, descriptive data and inductive. The naturalistic feature is when researchers feel that action can be understood when it is observed in the natural setting in which it occurs. Then there is descriptive data, it takes the form of words or pictures rather then numbers. Descriptive data in qualitative research can include: transcripts, video and audio recordings, and personal documents (Bogdan & Biklen 1982, p. 2). Inductive feature is shown as qualitative researchers analyze their data inductively. They are not set out to gather data to prove or disprove hypotheses unlike quantitative data.

When it comes to quantitative studies data normally begins in words and are transformed into numerical form, which can be put into categories, or in rank order. This type of data can be used to construct graphs and tables. It is conventional practice to regard quantitative data as consisting of variables. The variables normally start out as concepts, coming from either research questions or hypotheses (Blaikie 2003 p. 6). Examples of quantitative research are rating scales or closed questions on a questionnaire as these produce either numerical data or data that can be put into categories (e.g. “yes”, “no” answers).
Mixed methods research has been referred to as ‘‘an intuitive way of doing research’’. It is a practical approach that draws on the strengths of both qualitative and quantitative methods to more fully answer the research questions. The core characteristics of mixed methods research are that it collects and analyses rigorously both qualitative and quantitative data based on research questions, Links the two forms of data concurrently by combining them sequentially by having one...

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