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Chapter 7 - Analysing the Data Part IV - Analysis of Variance Chapter 1 - Behavioural Science and research Chapter 2 - Research Design Chapter 3 - Collecting the Data Chapter 4 - Analysing the Data Part I - Descriptive Statistics Chapter 5 - Analysing the Data Part II - Inferential Statistics Chapter 6 - Analysing the Data Part III - Common Statistical Tests Sources of data Samples and populations Sampling methods Quantitative and qualitative approaches Questionnaire design Coding of data Readings and links


Chapter 3: Collecting the Data


Quantitative and qualitative approaches

Most of the research you will encounter is of the quantitative type and that is what we will be dealing with in this unit. In such research, we rely on measuring variables and comparing groups on those variables, or examining the strength of the relationship between two or more variables. The belief here is that objectivity in the data collection process is paramount. Whoever was repeating this study or using the same instruments and methods would get approximately the same numbers.

However, another branch of research uses more qualitative approaches. These approaches employ more subjective approaches and frequently use interviews, focus groups, or single case designs, that lack objective measurement or have restricted generalisability. However, these methods are becoming more widely used these days as analysis methods improve and people search for better ways of gathering data about a problem. Focus groups recruit six to eight participants into a group in which the researcher has a structured set of questions which direct the discussion in the group to the research question. Usually, the whole discussion has to be tape-recorded or video-recorded and all interactions transcribed. The researchers then have to go back over the transcripts and extract the information they need. This can be a quite subjective, laborious, and costly process, but with a standardised set of guidelines, specific training, and greater familiarity with the technique, the considerable richness of these methods has been able to be tapped.




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