The researcher plays a very critical and important role is the course of a study. The researcher is basically the person who carries out the investigation. The researcher is charged with the responsibility of identifying the research problem, carry out background study on the problem and fine tune it to suit the information obtained from the literature review. The researcher formulates the research design and seeks permission from the relevant governing bodies and respondents. The researcher has to obtain written consent from the participants of the study to avoid legal implications. The researcher is responsible for providing information about the study and educating the participants on their ethical and legal rights during the course of the interview. Every research has a target audience, it may be carried out for the purpose of graduating from a learning institution where the audience is the teaching staff, or may be carried out to address a particular problem such as a disease, and in this case the audience consists of the community, patients and the medical personnel.
In quantitative research the first step would be to identify a research problem. The researcher would then go through a wide research base to clarify specific set of concepts that need exploration. After identifying the research problem the researcher develops or formulates a research question or problem. After identification of the problem the researcher proceeds to conduct a literature review on the available and relevant literature on the problem at hand. At this particular phase of the study, the research statement or question is subjected to a review with the intention of modifying it to suit the information gathered from the literature review. After understanding the research question the researcher proceeds to formulate and design the research. Quantitative research is conducted through independent observation and personal values are deferred in order to enable them understand. Reality is viewed as a whole and therefore by subdividing and evaluating its various parts the big whole can be understood better. In their attempts to design the research the quantitative researchers seek to know the cause and the effect of various relationships that determine behavior patterns (Babbie, 2011).
Qualitative research procedures are denoted by a huge sample population consisting of smaller groups from a larger population, and a random sample with similar traits as the larger group. This approach gains advantage from time economies through recorded and tested methods to produce data, while data evaluation is more or less technical and is conducted through established statistical methods. Characteristically a quantitative investigator would employ the use of secondary information, experiments and survey procedures in the process of data collection. This is in contrast to interpretivists who depend on fieldwork and observation to generate the emergence of knowledge. This difference is termed as participatory and non participatory research techniques. In qualitative research the researcher may have minimal influence or none at all on the respondents (Johnson & Christensen, 2011).
Data analysis and interpretation begins just after data collection has been completed. Statistical data analysis methods and the development of analysis models are important at this phase; the language made use of is that of variables and how they interrelate wit each other. Quantitative research mostly makes use of deductive methods, confirming or dis confirming the hypothesis or assertions formulated from general statements. Virtually in all quantitative research when the effect and cause correlation has been illustrated, or not, then the investigator can claim to have performed his obligations. When research results are presented, they are debated in a standardized format, basing on if the data generated reaffirms or opposes the research question. The choice of the method of data collection is highly dependent on the form of research being conducted. On most occasions, the mode of data collection evolves from the study design. The best method of analyzing data depends on whether the study is using qualitative or quantitative approaches. Quantitative studies would probably use one way analysis. Univariate analysis is the most convenient method of data analysis due to its simplistic nature. It involves the defining of cases in relation to single specific variables and the distribution of aspects that compose it (Gorard, 2001).
Qualitative research uses a broad and deep angled lens analysis. It evaluates the human choices and behavior during its natural occurrences paying close attention to detail. In qualitative research, the investigator usually does not want to intervene or influence the natural flow or occurrence of a behavior. The investigator tends to study or examine the behavior from a holistic point of view in its natural setting. They try to comprehend numerous dimensions and layers of reality such as the people in a certain group, their thoughts, how they relate towards each other, the norms and beliefs they hold in common or are divergent. For example, in the qualitative study or research on the social climate and institutional culture of a very successful school, the investigator would have to study numerous aspects of the school. This will be in an effort to determine or make an analysis of the operations of the school in order to explain for whom and why it is successful. Based on the research questions, an investigator employing the use of both approaches would shift back and forth between the two approaches (Maxwell, 2007).
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