Do qualitative research methods violate the scientific method?

Hello everyone i am back 🙂 This week’s topic will be discussing whether qualitative research methods violate the scientific method. Mnay people undertake the belief that since qualitative research methods do not incorporate numbers and statistics, it is not deemed a scientific method. However, what these people fail to take into account is that in actual fact, qualititative research methods tell us more about the data than quantitative research methods, and are just as equally important as quantitative methods. This is reflected by this website: http://archpsyc.ama-assn.org/cgi/content/abstract/49/8/624 which demonstrates just how important interviews are as they are the most common qualitative measure employed when diagnosing In addition, they also neglect the fact that researcher’s do employ control measures when using qualitative research methods. For example, trangulation is a method of quality control which researchers use. Trangulation is where researchers back up their theories with direct quotes when generating qualitative data. Therefore, they have solid evidence when orchastrating their theories. In conclusion, qualitative research methods do not violate the scientific method as the pro’s of not using statistical and scientific measures to gather the data outweigh the con’s.

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3 Responses

  1. I agree with you that qualitative methods are still just as important as quantitative methods. Qualitative methods provide more in-depth and rich data, allowing easier representation of the complexities of human behaviour, which would be difficult to assess using quantitative methods. For example, Collier et al. (2005) used a qualitative method when conducting a study into how people form relationships, a topic which would be hard to measure using quantitative methods. Qualitative methods gain access to thoughts and feelings which may not be assessed using quantitative methods. However, conducting qualitative research can be very time consuming and consequently very expensive too, therefore the sample size is often limited to a small number of participants. Using a small sample size can also cause problems with generalising the results to the rest of the population. It is more difficult to detect patterns and draw conclusions from qualitative data. Finally, the analysis of qualitative data may be biased because personal beliefs and expectations of the researcher may have an affect.

    Collier, K. M., Faidley, A. and Schilling, K. M. (2005). No longer ‘Absent when the picture was taken’: Putting Relationships into Relational Research. Humanistic Psychologist, 33, 213-246.

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