Q is for… Qualitative #AtoZChallenge

Q is for… Qualitative

Well, if you’ve been following my PhD posts, it will come as no surprise to you that I will be taking a qualitative approach to my research. I think this fits better with both my worldview and the topic I will be researching – creative writing (duh – words!).

This is not to say that I don’t value quantitative research – which is obviously extremely necessary. I can’t really see myself ever doing pure quantitative because I always want to explore the why.

But for this project it is all about the wordage.

The one thing I still don’t understand is the concept that qualitative research is second rate and not useful and I hope that I don’t have to spend too much time defending that aspect of my thesis – there are going to be enough other things to talk about surely.

Research is inherently biased, there is always a reason behind completing it, personal influences effect other aspects too; what methodology you use, what participants are chosen, what statistical tests are run etc etc.

With qualitative research all of those biases are shouted about and sometimes even embraced wholeheartedly. This isn’t always the case in write ups of quantitative research for journals – this automatically makes me a little suspicious.

Sadly, today in Wales, we have seen the first death following the measles outbreak – this is possibly related to an extremely poorly conducted piece of research into the MMR vaccine. This is not to forget that results when presented in the media are highly summarised and use sensationalised headlines. Oh look – there go words again and all their power.

So, what I’m suggesting is that whenever you see research reporting numbers ask, so what does that mean? What other things might influence that outcome? And when you see qualitative research ask how does this fit with my experience, what bits are useful to me and what bits don’t apply.

Always ask questions, just because something is written down doesn’t mean it is accurate or true – does truth even exist?

Posted on April 19, 2013, in April A-Z Challenge, PhD and tagged . Bookmark the permalink. 2 Comments.

  1. I’m in favor of quality over quantity. True, just because something is written down (online or in a book) doesn’t make it so. Always question … curiosity and doubt are golden.

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