Indeed, the positions taken by Individual researchers vary considerably between those Like Barman (1988) who argues for a “best of both worlds” approach by suggesting that qualitative and quantitative approaches be combined to those of scholars like Hughes (1997) whom interacts by stating that such technician solutions underestimate the politics of legitimacy that are associated with the choice of methods. It is the purpose of this essay to analyze these two research frameworks highlighting the positive aspects as well as the flaws and limits, and highlighting the rise of what is often referred to as the “mixed” method.
All of this will be seen within a business contest. Specifically, looking at the author’s proposed future research in the realm of commercial negotiations, the arguments presented will reflect this sphere of research. Quantitative and qualitative research are based on different philosophical approaches and methodologies. Quantitative research derives from neo-postludes philosophy which underlines the belief In the presence of an absolute truth as Its core foundation.
This perspective of seeing the world translates in the utilization of research approaches founded on scientific analysis through statistical elaborations and mathematical models. The qualitative approach by contrast, does not highlight the presence of absolute truths but rather truths which are dependent on the reticular perspective from which a phenomenon is observed through. This off- course entails that qualitative research is undertaken primarily through the adoption of narrative and logical deduction.
These differences appear encapsulated in Best & Khan’s (1989: 90-90) statement: “Quantitative research consists of those studies in which the data concerned can be analyses In terms of numbers… Research can also be quantitative, that Is, It can describe events, persons and so forth ecclesiastically without the use of numerical data… Quantitative research Is more open and responsive to its subject. ” From a flirts glance, it appears clear that there are substantial differences between the quantitative and qualitative approaches.
Indeed, the way data is obtained, the flexibility in methodological application, the objective and subjective nature of the results obtained, are just a few of the most evident points of contrast. Such contracts has resulted in what has been defined as the “paradigm wars” which has highlighted and emphasized the incompatibility of the two approaches. For a protracted period of time the quantitative approach has been seen the best form of research for two mall sets of reason.
Firstly, eclectic progress In the last century has projected the notion of the excellently approach as the most apt for the sass’s has seen the ability of elaborating a vast amount of data electronically thus further promoting the scientific approach as the best method to adopt for research. Recently however, the divide between the quantitative and qualitative has diminished to the point of many scholars advocating a debate on the merits of a mixed research methodology utilizing the strengths of both schools of thought.
Indeed, the quest for obtaining the best possible research result has seen a conceptualization of research methods with an integration of the two main philosophies which may be used to converge and consolidate (defined as “triangulation”), refute data or indeed inform new paths of enquiry. Indeed, research papers today often contain statistical data derived from the quantitative methodology which is then presented and formulated in interviews which put the data into the “real-world” perspective. The integration of the two approaches also makes sense when one starts to look at the commonalities between them.
Indeed, both approaches share the following characteristics:
- Research project design Identification of information Information management
- Analysis of data Empirical observations
There are many other characteristics which instead differentiate quantitative and qualitative research, but a growing group of scholars are now perceiving these differences as positive in that they may reinforce rather than detract from each other. This is often referred to as “triangulation” and I believe this to be of paramount importance within the context of business research.
Indeed, Just like the integrated approach, the business sphere also is a mixture and fusion of statistics, and “hard” uncial data in conjunction with “softer” narrative explanations derived from interviews, and focus groups. Delving even more specifically into my proposed realm of research which centers around the commercial negotiation methodologies adopted in multicultural environments and frontier markets, the integrated approach is, in my opinion, the only approach capable of providing a true and accurate framework for developing such research.
This claim is further upheld if one considers the eleven ways in which it is possible to combine qualitative and quantitative research methods:
- Logic of triangulation in which the findings from nee type of study can be checked against the findings from the other type as above highlighted;
- Facilitation of qualitative research for quantitative research. In this instance the qualitative research informs the quantitative method by providing essential background information and a context;
- Facilitation of quantitative research for qualitative research. In this occurrence quantitative research methodology helps to inform the qualitative one by providing a filter and narrowing down the subjects which merit further investigation.
- Quantitative and qualitative approaches are combined into one thereby furnishing a more in-depth analysis.
- Researcher’s and subject’s perspectives.
- Generality. The addition of quantitative evidence to a qualitative one may aid in providing the basis for claims of generalization rather than subjectivity.
- Qualitative methodology can assist in the identification and interpretation of variables uncovered by quantitative research.
- Bridging the gap between macro and micro levels.
- Stage in the research process.
- Hybrid study in which the use of qualitative research becomes a quasi experimental quantitative study. Having conducted a thorough research planning exercise and following the in-depth reading into quantitative and qualitative analysis for the present assignment, my proposed future research will rely heavily on the mixed or integrated approach methodology.
Indeed, much of the existing body of knowledge in this area is represented by the Cold War era “game theory’. Game theory in turn is imbued with statistical data to scientifically analyze the various decision-making processes and outcomes. Once these are applied to a real world scenario they may, for instance, in urn translate into financial results and considerations. An example of this may be seen when throughout the sass, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) colluded to raise the price of crude oil from under $3 USED per barrel in 1973 to over $30 USED per barrel in 1980.
Each member of OPEC had the opportunity to Join the cartel or to bluff Oust like in the prisoner’s dilemma game theory) and instead undercut the other members thus increasing its own export. This situation requires a quantitative approach initially to clearly highlight the various options and outcomes. Returning to the example it can be seen that each country has a dominant strategy: produce at the higher of the variables proposed. From this start point, a decision tree can be created which will scientifically or quantitatively provide two possible outcomes: 1) Utilization of a dominant strategy or 2) Cooperation.
The data provided from calculating the two scenarios will thus provide the negotiator with hard scientific facts on what strategy to pursue. In the case of OPEC, in the end all countries decided to cooperate thus initiating one of the biggest monopolies in recent history. However, the decision to cooperate was not based solely on the quantitative approach but also on the political perspectives and considerations of each country within that particular period of time.
Consequently, a qualitative approach is necessary in order to put into context the quantitative data provided and thus provide a more in-depth and “real world” explanation of why the OPEC countries colluded. It would be erroneous and superficial to assume that such countries, many like Iraq and Iran, with strong geopolitical differences and situations, decided to cooperate solely on the basis of financial and scientific data.
The same reasoning can therefore be applied to my proposed area of research into negotiations in multicultural environments in which the various game theory and logical decision tree strategy templates have to be applied within a complex social context involving people with different cultural, and socio-political values. In order to best and only solution in providing conclusive research results. Specifically, I would structure my research by adopting a sequential integrated approach by alternating quantitative approach to qualitative approach.
Firstly, I would utilize a qualitative approach by undertaking a direct observation of a negotiation within a multicultural context (perhaps this could be one of the many negotiations I partake in in the course of my corporate duties), I would then switch to a quantitative approach and formulate a decision tree based on scientific game theory and capture relevant financial data. Once the quantitative phase is complete, I would then utilize this data to inform the final qualitative narrative which would entail a series of interviews from the main participants.
The process would be concluded through the qualitative analysis of accumulation and other considerations such as socio, cultural, and linguistic factors. In so doing the data capture would be placed into context thereby allowing for a wholly integrated conclusion to the research to be reached: “Thus for the mixed methods researcher, pragmatism opens the door to multiple methods, different worldviews, and different assumptions, as well as different forms of data collection and analysis in the mixed methods study. (Crewel, 2003). In light of the above highlighted factors it appears clear that there are many more positive outcomes to be derived from adopting a mixed method approach compared o choosing between quantitative or qualitative methods as the purists would prefer. I believe the intrinsic reason for this is that any experiment or study undertaken has to be seen within a specific context. At the same time the power of the scientific method cannot be argued but needs to be informed by perspective.
An example of the risk of erroneous information being obtained and shared by the use of only a single approach may be seen within government departments and corporations in which the use of statistics (derived from a mere quantitative approach) are used out f context and many claims such as rise and fall of crime within a city are manipulated to suit the speaker’s agenda. This would be less likely to occur if the statistics were then put into context via a qualitative study.