Strengths And Weakness Of The Qualitative Research Method

3266 words - 13 pages

This essay intends to compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research which addresses young people and bullying using two journal articles. The first article (quantitative) aims to “establish the relationship between recurrent peer victimisation and the onset of reported symptoms of anxiety or depression in the early teen years” (Bond et al. 2001, p. 480) while the second article (qualitative) aims to “investigate the nature of teenage girls’ indirect aggression” (Owens et al. 2000, p. 70).The two articles will be critically compared in terms of research design, methods used, approach to data analysis, reported results and the plausibility and appropriateness of the conclusions and recommendations posed. The aim of this essay is thus to evaluate and assess the methods of social science research currently undertaken in published research.
The research design provides a “framework for the collection and analysis of data” (Bryman 2008, p. 31) and thus will dictate how the research evidence is generated. The cohort research design employed within the quantitative analysis of young people and bullying falls within the wider umbrella of longitudinal designs. Within social scientific research the longitudinal approach consists usually of a self completion questionnaire or structured interview within a concurrently cross-sectional design (Bryman 2008, p. 49). These studies are generally concerned with illustrating social change and improving the understanding of causal influence overtime. However, in establishing causality there is considerable ambiguity about the direction of causal influence the cohort design through its potential ability to identify an independent variable at a specified time places the researcher in a better position to infer that the purported effects at this specified time period have in fact occurred after the independent variable, a key strength of this design (Bryman 2008, p. 51). Weaknesses inherent to the cohort study of extraneous variables, sample attrition and withdrawal however allow participants who may differ in important respects to leave the study and hence this will affect representativeness of the group (Bryman 2008, p. 51). This was the case in Bond et al.’s study as of their sample of 3623 students 2860 (79%) participated in at least once wave of data collection and only 2559 (71%) provided for their analysis (2001, p. 482). For those with missing data at the third wave of data collection (222, 8%) it was found that there were small but significant differences in some socio-demographic factors compared to the students without missing data (Bond et al. 2001, p.482). This included a higher proportion of boys and of students with non-intact families as well as families of non-English speaking backgrounds (Bond et al. 2001, p. 482).
Comparatively, the second article adopts a qualitative cross-sectional research design allowing the researchers to...

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