Thursday, September 30, 2004

The junction..... PART 9

AT THE CROSSROAD, WHERE TO TURN?

So sorry if it appears to be seen as one-sided, very much in favour towards the quantitative approach so far..... that was not done on purpose. It is also equally important for me to also highlight on the other approach of research method, i.e. the historical, the ethnographic, observational and developmental studies, the action research, and of most recent is the practice-based research specifically geared for us artists and design practitioners.

The Qualitative approach is very much of inductive type where we DO NOT start of with a hypothesis or problem statement, but rather of probing and into the situation and trying to understand the phenomenon. Through induction, we might eventually observe and establish a new pattern or regularities of knowledge that can lead to the development of new theory.

Inductive reasoning works the opposite way to Quantitative by moving from the specific observation to broader generalized theories. Informally, we sometimes call this a "bottom up" approach. In inductive reasoning, we begin with specific observations and measures, begin to detect patterns and regularities, formulate some tentative hypotheses that we can explore, and finally end up developing some general conclusions or theories.


INDUCTIVE REASONING

.................................................................Theory
.........................................Tentative...... /
.......................................Hypothesis -----/
.......................Pattern ----/
Observation ---/


Deductive reasoning works from the more general to the more specific. Sometimes this is informally called "top-down" approach. We might begin with thinking up a theory about our topic of interest. We then narrow that down into more specific hypothesis that we can test. We narrow down even further when we collect observations to address the hypothesis. This ultimately leads us to test the hypothesis with specific data - a confirmation (or not) of our original theories. The disadvantages of deductive approach is that the entry-point begins with an already establish information, which might not opens us up to any possibility of a new insights or a more lateral research to the situation.


DEDUCTIVE REASONING

Theory --\
..............Hypotheses -- \
.....................................Observation ---\
............................................................Confirmation




These two methods of reasoning have a very different "feel" to them when you are conducting research. Inductive reasoning, by its very nature is more open-ended and exploratory, especially at the beginning. Deductive reasoning is more narrow in nature and is concerned with testing or confirming hypotheses. Even though a particular study may look like it is purely deductive (e.g. an experiment designed to test the hypothesized effects of some treatment on some outcome), most social research involves both inductive and deductive reasoning processes at some time in the project.

We could assemble the two flow diagrams above into a single circular one that continually cycles from theories down to observations and back up again to theories. Even in the most constrained experiment, the researchers may observe patterns in the data that lead them to develop new theories.
In short the difference of the Qualitative and Quantitative approaches can be summed up as follows:

QUALITATIVE .................................QUANTITATIVE

‘Complex' rich data.............................. 'Simple' numeric data
Meaning .................................................Measurement
Understanding ......................................Explanation
Interpretation .......................................Prediction
Contextual account ...............................Generalisable account
Purposive/representative, .. ..................Representative,
perspective sample ....................., ...........population sample
Exploratory ............................................Hypothesis-testing
Accepts subjectivity ..............................Claims Objectivity
Open System (ecological validity) .......(experimental control)




A high quality research is characterised by:

1. It is based on the works of others - providing a basis for what and how you might conduct your own.

2. It can be replicated. - produces the same results when replicated, and can serve as a basis for same research in the same area.

3. For Quantitative research, it is generalizable to other setting. - i.e. the result would probably stand up (generalizable) in a different, but related setting. However, a Qualitative is not intended to be generalizable but their finding is only applicable to that specific case study alone. These two distinct differences have to be made very very clear to all researchers.

5. It is based on some logical rational and tied to theory -- No research question ideas stands alone but is more often tied to some guiding theories.

5. It is Doable - it is feasibly done and can be answered in a timely fashion.

6. It generates new questions or is cyclical in nature. - provides the foundation for research question that will be asked again tomorrow.

7. It is incremental. - no research stands alone, instead they stand on the shoulder of others, and contribution takes place in small, easily defined chunks.

8. It is an apolitical activity that should be undertaken for betterment of society. - e.g. Finding a vaccine for AIDS, and is independent of one's personal or political view, but of the truth.


Continuation of the article to come in next episode… please regularly visit this site.
As an indicator to show to me that this site is ever visited and read at all, please do post your comments to my articles. I truely need yourhonest feedback to improve.
It will be seen queer for me to be rambling alone to the brick walls for the past three months and not knowing if it is worth my time doing it. Sometime, I do contemplate on just closing this site for good and thinking of converting it into a book instead.
Chao....

1 Comments:

At December 22, 2004 at 2:00 AM, Blogger KaRNA said...

i've only read some recent books writing on visual researh in graphic design. it is kindly new on graphic design books which concentrated in research methodology.
it sound that they using a qualitative and also quantitavie approach. but i'm not sure how does it looks like. i'm absolutely blank about any method.

i heard about a kindly new trend method called 'exegesis'.
may i get some information about what is so called 'exegesis' method. is it somekind of hermeneutics approached like on literature or philosophical matter?

thanks.

 

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