In this paper, I will define quantitative and qualitative research methods and provide examples in the context of social issues which will hopefully provide insight into how this methods are properly applied.
Social issues are very broad and diverse and are usually made up of factors or consequences which directly or indirectly affect a person or many members of a society and are considered to be problems, controversies or both and are related to moral values, therefore their immediate social environment may become vulnerable in some respect which may also effect several individuals environment and in turn society.
There are two methods of approaching study of the world; deductive and inductive (L. Osburn, personal communication, August 11, 2011).
Quantitative research uses a deductive reasoning also known as top to bottom or (top down approach) starting with a theory, then the hypothesis, followed by observation and finally confirmation , going from the general to the more specific. Quantitative methods use numbers and statistics to show the results of the research exercise and mainly are concerned with mathematics and statistics. In quantitative research there are levels of measurement being firstly nominal which are names of things followed by ordinal sequence of things, interval where the sequence has equal distance between each item, and ratio where there is a true zero (Alston & Bowles, 2003, p. 7-9).
Quantitative research is the oldest form of research; it is incredibly formal, stemming from positivism paradigm, or the outside looking in approach. The method is about trying to establish cause and affect relationships between variables. This method can be considered non biased as the researcher isn’t usually involved in the research, is ruminated by some as conservative and archaic. Usually the issue being researched the researcher has extensive prior knowledge on and has easy access to legitimisation, theory construction and testing (Alston & Bowles, 2003; L Osburn, 2011).
An example of quantitative research is the Census which is completed every 5 years and is about asking a mass of population the exact same questions around the same time to analyse the data to make/change/influence standards and policies, and ultimately improve the quality of life. The census utilises statistics; which are any function of a number of random variables, usually identically distributed that may be used to estimate a population parameter (Collins online dictionary, 2012). One useful statistic in social research is the Chi Square, as Faherty (2008. p 149) describes the Chi square test is always non parametric since it uses nominal level data, or ordinal data treated as nominal level in both dependent and independent variables.
An example of this was a study that was completed in Oregon relating to how African American adolescents viewed the variable – respect, particularly as it was experienced by them from others. The research...