Creswell mentioned that “researchers select the research method according to the question they pose” (Creswell, 2003, 34). It is logical to believe that in the context of research the data gathered by researchers depends on the nature of the study like quantitative, qualitative or mixed methods. In this case of compensation administration in a large organization the researchers selected the mixed method or the amalgamation of qualitative and quantitative method.
A quantitative research method may be defined as the process of collecting numeric data and using that data to show what those, observations reflect (Babbie, 1992). The one of the important factors of quantitative research methodology is data collection which is done through various processes such as interviews, questionnaire surveys, tests/measures, and observations (Easterby-Smith et al, 1991). Questionnaires have been used as a survey method for data collection in the research of internet adoption in healthcare was done by Coye, Jacks, Everett, and Akay (2001). Quantitative method is widely used for its objectiveness. Quantitative methods are systematic and are based on positive perspective. Further, quantitative research is replicable as it is possible to collect the same data in another situation or place and get some other outcome which can be compared. But quantitative research methodology has been criticized for its positivism (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998). Further, there was a question of internal and external validity which was thought to be not present in the quantitative method by some psychologists. Further quantitative method has been criticized for being limited to hypothesis testing. Further it is also called a simplistic process wherein data related to the research question are gathered which are then analyzed with little concern for the historical background of the situation (Grbich, 1999). Further as quantitative analysis are related to “cause, effect and objectivity” they fail to be an appropriate method of research for events which are dynamic (Grbich, 1999). This shows that the quantitative method is not a full proof method for acceptance.
Qualitative research is described as alpha numeric examination of the observations with the aim to discover the hidden meaning beneath it and a pattern of relationship, if any (Burns & Grove, 2005). Qualitative study is said to be more dynamic and suitable for studies which are occurring and are still in the process of change. They are useful in order to understand the reason for the development of the theory from the present understanding or studying prior historical data. But the advantages of the method are that they fail to be objective and are difficult to be replicated. So generalization is difficult in a qualitative research method. Qualitative researches are also known as constructivist approach refuse positivism (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004). Further these researches are value bounded and it is very difficult to differentiate between cause and effect. Johnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004) further identifies that qualitative research encompasses a “a dislike of a detached and passive style of writing, preferring, instead, detailed, rich, and thick (empathic) description, written directly and somewhat informally” (p. 14).
Mixed Method Design
There exists extensive debate regarding the validity and supremacy of one of the research methods (Tashakkori & Teddlie, 1998) but it has again been criticized by scholars who believe that the two methodologies are compatible (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004; Casebeer & Verhoef, 1997). So this group of scholars believe that even though the two paradigms are different, there lies certain elements of similarities which can provide fruitful research: “The goal of mixed methods research is not to replace either of these approaches but rather to draw from the strengths and minimize the weaknesses of both in single research studies and across studies” (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p.15). This method has gained acceptance in various research fields. Sociologists and nursing researches widely use this methodology. As has been suggested by Corner, “the use of different research methods within a single study can provide a richer and deeper understanding of the area under investigation than would otherwise be possible” (cited in Casebeer & Verhoef, 1997). Recently medical research has also started using both the traditional methods together (Casebeer & Verhoef, 1997). This methodology is identified through the use of both the qualitative and quantitative methodologies. This method identifies the similarities in the traditional methodologies which have been used.
As the mixed research model is evolved through the disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative research method, it is important to understand the various areas where in the method can be applied. Further it is important to understand the areas wherein the two traditional methods will be applied to reap full benefit of their combinations. A mixed research method comprises of the following steps: “(1) determine the research question; (2) determine whether a mixed design is appropriate; (3) select the mixed method or mixed-model research design; (4) collect the data; (5) analyze the data; (6) interpret the data; (7) legitimate the data; and (8) draw conclusions (if warranted) and write the final report.” (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, p.21)
Babbie, E. (1992). The practice of social research 6th ed. Belmont: CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
Burns, N. & Grove, S.K. (2005). The practice of nursing research. St. Louis, Missouri: Elsevier Health Sciences.
Casebeer, A.L. & Verhoef, M.J. (1997). Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods: Considering the Possibilities for Enhancing the Study of Chronic Diseases. Web.
Coye, M.J., Jacks, G., Everett, W.E. & Akay, L. (2001). Medical Group Adoption of Internet Services. Journal of Ambulatory Care Manage 24(4), p. 67–75.
Creswell, J. W. (2003). Research designs: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches; (2nd ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.
Easterby-Smith, M., Thorpe, R. & Lowe, A. (1991). Management Research: An Introduction. London: Sage Publications.
Grbich, C. (1999). Qualitative Research in Health. London: SAGE.
Johnson, R.B. & Onwuegbuzie, A.J. (2004). Mixed Methods Research: A Research Paradigm Whose Time Has Come. Educational Researcher 33(7), 14–26.
Tashakkori, A. & Teddlie, C. (1998). Mixed Methodology. London: SAGE