Scientific Research: Qualitative and Quantitative Data Collection

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Qualitative and quantitative are two major methods of data collection that are applicable in scientific research. While the qualitative method of data collection focuses on intangible parameters such as relationships, behaviors, ethnicity, religion, and social norms, the quantitative method of data collection examines tangible parameters of a given subject of study in terms of numbers. Despite their differences in data collections, the two dominant methods enable researchers to derive essential information and draw valid and reliable inferences in their studies (Cosby, DiClemente, & Salazar, 2011). In this view, the research paper seeks to conduct a study using the qualitative method of data collection in a campus environment and compare the experience with the qualitative method of data collection.

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The experience of observational research in a campus environment is interesting as well as tricky. Mere observation of students in the campus environment requires a critical researcher because items of observation are very subtle, thus very hard for a casual observer to note them as having any social connotation. According to Gordon and Pell (2003), observation is effective in data collection because it enables researchers to collect firsthand information using critical skills in a natural setting. Hence, in this case, observation of students in the campus environment did sharpen my critical skills of data collection using the qualitative method.

The qualitative method of data collection differs from the quantitative method of data collection in terms of the nature of the data collected. The qualitative method collects data that is hard to measure because researchers derive information from subjects based on their senses. Moreover, qualitative data is complicated and difficult to analyze using biostatistical tools because it requires recoding of data (Rhodes, Eng, Hergenrather, Remnitz, Arceo, Montano, et al., 2007). In contrast, quantitative data is measurable as researchers employ quantitative instruments to measure or count a given data that they derive from subjects.

The strengths of the qualitative method of data collection are that it enables researchers to derive firsthand information that is abstract, and allows detailed study of many factors in a given population in their natural settings (Cosby, DiClemente, & Salazar, 2011). However, the limitation is that the qualitative method of data collection is prone to bias because it is subjective. Moreover, qualitative data is unreliable and less valid compared to quantitative data (Teufel-Shone, Siyuja, Watahomigie, & Irwin, 2006). Comparatively, the strength of quantitative data is that it is more reproducible because its data is measurable, hence, reducing biasness associated with qualitative data. Additionally, qualitative data is more valid and reliable than qualitative data because it is accurate. The limitation of qualitative data is that not all parameters in research have a numerical value, which is measurable.

Between the two methods of data collection, I am more comfortable with the quantitative method of data collection because it is accurate and less prone to biasness than the qualitative method of data collection. Hence, the experience of collecting qualitative data in the campus environment was not only complex but also subjective. In conclusion, despite their differences in research, both qualitative and quantitative methods of data collection are essential in all scientific research.

Observational Checklist for Students in Campus

Items Observation
  1. Do students walk in groups?
Yes
  1. What is the composition of the groups in terms of gender?
Mostly one gender is dominant
  1. What is the composition of the groups in terms of race?
Racial diverse
  1. Do students walk in pairs?
Yes
  1. Do pairs of students reflect social relationships?
Yes, the dominant pairs comprise male and female students
  1. During the day, are students busy in corridors rushing to classes?
Yes, students seem to be in hurry to their respective classes
  1. In the evening, do students show some laxity?
Yes
  1. What time of the day do students fill the library?
In the morning
  1. What is the dominant leisure activity that students perform?
Playing different games in the field
  1. During games time, does a significant number of students attend games?
Yes
  1. What time of the day do students participate in discussions groups
In the evening

References

Cosby, R., DiClemente, D., & Salazar, L. (2011). Research Methods in Health Promotion. New York: John Wiley & Sons.

Gordon, C. S., & Pell, J. P. (2003). Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma related to gravitational challenge: Systematic review of randomized controlled trials. British Medical Journal, 327(7429),1459-1461.

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Rhodes, S., Eng, E., Hergenrather, K., Remnitz, I., Arceo, R., Montano, J., et al. (2007). Exploring Latino men’s HIV risk using community-based participatory research. American Journal of Health Behavior, 31(2), 146-158.

Teufel-Shone, N., Siyuja, T., Watahomigie, H., & Irwin, S. (2006). Community-based participatory research: Conducting a formative assessment of factors that influence youth wellness in the Hualapai community. American Journal of Public Health, 96(9), 1623–1628.

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