Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Research Essay

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Mixed Methods Research



Two important aspects of qualitative research relates to the role of the researcher and the manner in which knowledge is viewed. These two aspects fundamentally distinguish qualitative research from quantitative research (Creswell, 2014). In qualitative research, the researcher seeks to cultivate a closer relationship with the subject(s). This means that the researcher focuses on a single or a small number of subjects, and utilises designs that allow closer interaction with the subjects such as in-depth interviews, observations, and focus group discussions. Cultivating a closer relationship with the subjects is informed by the need to gain a deeper understanding of the research phenomenon (Denscombe, 2010). This arises from the assertion that knowledge is subjective (Bryman, 2008). In other words, different individuals tend to have different meanings and worldviews about a given phenomenon. The role of the researcher, therefore, is to understand the unique interpretation a subject holds about the phenomenon in question, not the researcher's meaning or the meaning suggested by extant literature (Creswell, 2014).



These two aspects have important implications for criminal justice research. For instance, using qualitative research designs such as case study, ethnography, and phenomenology places the researcher in a better position to understand the psychological and behavioural characteristics of a certain criminal or type of criminals. More fundamentally, understanding the distinct nature of qualitative research enable consumers of research to more appropriately interpret published research findings. They interpret those findings oblivious of the fact that they may not be readily generalised beyond the subjects included in the study. These two tenets would be relevant in answering a criminal justice research question, especially with regard to questions that require a more detailed understanding of the research phenomenon as opposed to just cause-and-effect relationships.

Week 3 -- Discussion 2



Creswell (2014) provides six steps for conducting effective qualitative analysis. The first step involves organising and preparing the collected data for analysis. This step is important as it ensures a smooth data analysis process.

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The second step entails getting a broad sense of the data. At this stage, the researcher goes through the data to grasp a general understanding and tone of participants' responses. Step three involves coding the data. This is a particularly crucial step as it makes the data more comprehensible. At this stage, the researcher should focus on creating simple, relevant, and fascinating codes. Step four encompasses describing the setting and themes. The descriptions appear in the findings section, meaning the researcher should convey the perspectives provided by the subjects. The fifth step involves representing the descriptions and themes, mainly through narrative text and illustrations such as tables and visuals, while step six entails interpreting the findings. The last two steps are vital as they present the theory to explain the research phenomenon, convey important information about subjects, highlight convergence or divergence between the present findings and past research, and highlight questions for further inquiry.



The six steps have important implications for evaluating criminal justice data and interpreting published research. Indeed, evaluating criminal justice data and presenting it in a manner that makes sense to both the researcher and the reader can be quite difficult, often taking a substantial amount of time and effort. Knowledge of these steps minimises this difficulty. Personally, knowledge of these steps will be useful in answering criminal justice research questions wherein qualitative designs such as ethnography and phenomenology would be the most appropriate.

Week 4 -- Discussion 1



Two important tenets that underpin quantitative research are generalisation and cause-and-effect relationships (Creswell, 2014). In quantitative research, knowledge is viewed as objective and universal (Martin & Bridgmon, 2012). This means that the findings obtained from a sample within a given population can be representative of the general population. This aspect is what fundamentally differentiates quantitative research from qualitative research. The findings essentially….....

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References

Bryman, A. (2008). Social research methods. 3rd ed. Buckingham: Open University Press.

Creswell, J. (2013). Qualitative inquiry and research design: choosing among five approaches. London: SAGE.

Creswell, J. (2014). Research design: qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. 4th ed. London: SAGE.

Creswell, J., & Clark, V. (2011). Designing and conducting mixed methods research. 2nd ed. London: SAGE.

Denscombe, M. (2010). The good research guide for small-scale social research projects. 4th Ed. Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill.

Kothari, C. (2004). Research methodology: methods and techniques. New York: New Age International.

Martin, W., & Bridgmon, K. (2012). Quantitative and statistical research methods: from hypothesis to results. Hoboken: John Wiley & Sons.

Thomas, G. (2009). How to do your research project. London: SAGE.

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