Atieno_Vol.13.pdf

The point is that the line between qualitative and

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of categorizing can be viewed as a quantitative one as well. The point is that the line between qualitative and quantitative is less distinct. All qualitative data can be quantitatively coded in an almost infinite variety of ways. This doesn’t detract from the qualitative information. Recognizing the similarities between qualitative and quantitative information opens up new possibilities for interpretation that might otherwise go unutilized. All quantitative data is based on qualitative judgment. Numbers in and of themselves can’t be interpreted without understanding the assumptions which underlie them. The bottom line here is that quantitative and qualitative data are, at some level, virtually inseparable. Neither exists in a vacuum nor can be considered totally devoid of the other. To ask which is “better” or more “valid” or has greater “verisimilitude” or whatever ignores the intimate connection between them. To do good research we need to use both the qualitative and the quantitative. Limitations of Qualitative Research • The aim of qualitative analysis is a complete, detailed description. No attempt is made to assign frequencies to the linguistic features which are identified in the data, and rare phenomena receives (or should receive) the same amount of attention as more frequent phenomena. Qualitative analysis allows for fine distinctions to be drawn because it is not necessary to shoehorn the data into a finite number of classifications. • Ambiguities, which are inherent in human language, can be recognized in the analysis. For example, the word "red" could be used in a corpus to signify the color red, or as a political categorization (e.g. socialism or communism). In a qualitative analysis both senses of red in the phrase "the red flag" could be recognized. • The main disadvantage of qualitative approaches to corpus analysis is that their findings cannot be extended to wider populations with the same degree of certainty that quantitative analyses can. This is because the findings of the research are not tested to discover whether they are statistically significant or due to chance. Ochieng Pamela ATIENO. An Analysis of the Strengths and Limitation of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Paradigms
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PROBLEMS OF EDUCATION IN THE 21 st CENTURY Volume 13, 2009 18 Conclusion Any researcher steeped in the qualitative tradition would certainly take issue with comments about the similarities between quantitative and qualitative data. In the end, people who consider themselves primarily qualitative or primarily quantitative tend to be almost as diverse as those from the opposing camps. There are qualitative researchers who fit comfortably into the post-positivist tradition common to much contemporary quantitative research. And there are quantitative researchers (albeit, probably fewer) who use quantitative information as the basis for exploration, recognizing the inherent limitations and complex assumptions beneath all numbers. In either camp, intense and fundamental disagreement about both philosophical assumptions and the nature of data. Increasingly, there are researchers who are
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