In this lecture we were introduced to research methodologies of qualitative and quantitative research, and how to decide as to which type is best for a giving investigation.
On Doing Research in Design by Christopher Crouch & Jane Peace
Chapter 5. Doing Research: From Methodologies to Method
—This chapter concerns itself with discussing and defining the differences between quantitative and qualitive research topics and methods. In the chapter the two types are described more of tools that are chosen depending upon the specific task which the researcher needs to accomplish, and Crouch and Pearce said thusly,
“In a nutshell, the question is whether you need to generate research data that can lead to conclusions that are generalizable across a large population, or whether your intention is to understand in some depth the experiences of a small group of people. A colleague of ours once clarified this distinction very neatly. She remarked that some researchers attempt to generalize, by conducting research to demon-strate that 'things happen like this', while other researchers focus on understanding the detail of individual experiences and seek to show that 'things like this happen ' (R. Pasqualini, personal communication, 2003).” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
Qualitative research is keyed towards an in-depth study of individuals, rather than accumulating generalized trends and options of large repressive groups of whole populations as seen in the quantitative tradition.
—They also layout a basis for how research projects begin, one must give the purpose and giving a problem/question for the investigation, then the researcher must justify what data will be suited to answer the question and how it should be analysed. A key point is the selection of the study groups,
“The in-depth nature of qualitative research makes the involvement of large numbers of participants impractical, so researchers have developed strategies for choosing participants in ways that best suit the research intent. Examples of purposeful sampling include finding participants who are typical of a particular case; finding participants who have significant qualities in common” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
The definition they gave would suggests that there can be danger on accidental or intentional cherry picking of participants, which seems to be a significant issue with this tradition, if due diligence is not undertaken in the study to avoid bias. Not that quantitative methods are without flaws,
In-deed some quantitative research will involve every member of the whole population to which the research problem applies. If this proves too difficult, samples of a particular population may be chosen to represent a larger group.(Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
The main problem with gathering research from large groups a portion of the population may be unwilling to take the survey, this does interfere with the generalized nature of results as it can shift the range of the results significantly. A key example would be the drastic difference between the polls for the 2016 US elections and the final results.
—Setting can play in important factor in gathering data. Qualitive research for instance,
“typically takes place in naturalistic settings, observations of these settings can be very important in contributing to the researcher's understanding of participants' experiences, while rich descriptions of these settings will in turn help readers understand the research context.” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
As opposed to quantitative that,
“relies on measurement tools such as scales, tests, observations checklists and questionnaires, and as far as possible takes place in controlled settings . . . Researchers using quantitative methodologies will take steps to control the influence of their personal value systems on the conduct of the research through strategies.” (Crouch & Pearce , 2012)
Crouch, C. & Pearce , J., 2012. Chapter 5: Doing research: from methodologies. In: Doing research in design. s.l.:Berg Publishers, pp. 67-75.
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Design In Context
Daniel Thomas Coates, graphic designer based in the UK. Currently a student at the University of Cumbria, Carlisle.