Qualitative only provides numbers, it may misrepresent target

Qualitative
and Quantitative Research Methods Used in Literature Review and Research
Proposal

             According to Nestor & Schutt
(2015), qualitative interviewing is a way to determine the meaning people give
to their actions. Through the interviewing process, individuals can give
in-depth information about the question or issue; this would not happen with
quantitative methods. The downside is that it is time consuming along with the
sample size being small, limiting the generalizability.

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The benefits
of a quantitative study are that the standards used can be replicated, data can
be looked at for cause and effect that can predict or support hypothesis. A
downside would be that it only provides numbers, it may misrepresent target
population, it is time-consuming and can be expensive.

While quantitative
research can be quantified, and used to prove hypotheses, qualitative data can’t
be quantified as it is based on emotions; however, it does provide necessary
data that enables researchers to form their hypotheses (Dorrance, 2017). All
researchers (Chen & Lee, 2013; Grieve & Watkinson, 2016; Lee et al.,
2013; Qiu et al., 2012; Varnali & Toker, 2015; Wohn et al., 2016) used
quantitative research in the form of self-reporting measures such as the UCLA
Loneliness Scale Version 3, Satisfaction with Life Scale, Subjective Happiness
Scale, Multidimensional Scale of Perceived Social Support, and The Social
Connectedness and the Social Assurances Scale.

Qualitative
Research

I have proposed the use of a focus
group, a qualitative method, for my study. It will offer an opportunity for
older adults to engage in the topic of discussion, the extent to which they
feel a lack of connectedness, as expressed by feelings of loneliness and isolation
as well as their willingness to try SNSs to improve social connectedness, in a
friendly, innocuous environment with others in their same position. The focus group will also offer a way to mix methods,
combining the strengths of the qualitative focus group with the results of the
quantitative questionnaire, improving the research study (Nestor & Schutt,
2015). Even though qualitative research
depends on subjective judgment that can’t
be quantified, information gathered by the participants
can support the hypothesis, while the quantitative data from the questionnaires
will validate the hypothesis (Dorrance,
2017).

If I
was only to use quantitative research to determine the relationship between the
psychological well-being and social connectedness of older adults, it would
have been descriptive, with no interviewing or discussions taking place with
the participants. I would have collected data from a larger sample population
of older adults who have little or no experience with SNSs, in the form of
surveys either by mail, phone, email, or the Internet. The participants would
have only been measured one time, establishing associations between the
psychological well-being and social connectedness; to ensure the association
between these variables is valid, the sample population would number in the
hundreds (“Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Quantitative
Methods,” n.d.).

Combining the objectivity and statistical analysis of
the quantitative data with results from interactions between participants able
to explain their answers or meaning to questions asked in qualitative studies,
strengthens the research study (Mcleod, 2017). Using both methods, this
research study will use data from the qualitative focus groups to investigate
the quantitative data of the surveys and questionnaires; the experiences and
insight participants share in the focus groups will be assessed along with the
statistical data of the surveys and questionnaires, providing validation for each as well as creating a strong
basis for findings about the intervention, using SNSs (Wisdom & Creswell,
2013).

  Quantitative Research

All
researchers (Chen & Lee, 2013; Grieve & Watkinson, 2016; Lee et al.,
2013; Qiu et al., 2012; Varnali & Toker, 2015; Wohn et al., 2016) used
quantitative research to collect, analyze, and test data of the participants
for validity. This was the best design for each study as their common objective
was to find facts that shape behavior as it is related to SNSs and its effects
on psychological well-being, by collecting, then analyzing, data by means of
numerical comparisons and statistical inferences (Mcleod, 2017).  Descriptive or correlational methods in the
form of surveys, psychological tests, observer rating, and questionnaires, were
used to define behaviors and search for links between them; the standardizing
of the tests created consistency in the implementation and scoring
(“Research Methods in Psychology,” n.d.).

Research
tools used to measure emotions were the Multidimensional Scale of Perceived
Social Support, Single Item Self-Esteem measure, the Kessler Psychological
Distress Scale, Depression Anxiety Stress Scale, and Russell’s UCLA Loneliness
Scale. The Likert scale was used to measure participant’s attitudes or opinions
based on their responses and level of agreement/disagreement to statements
(Mcleod, 2008). The advantage of this system is that the participants don’t
answer yes or not, but rate their answer on a scale from 1 up to 7, depending
on the questionnaire or another measure; however, the disadvantage is that
participants may not tell the truth, wanting to present themselves in the best
possible light, which compromises its validity (McLeod, 2008).

 

Conclusion

Quantitative
research determines the relationship between variables inside a population (“Organizing
Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Quantitative Methods,” n.d.). One of
the strengths of a focus group is with its validity; it would be rational to
believe that the participants are discussing what is meant to be discussed (Flom,
2017). While understanding that generalizability is difficult in qualitative
research due to the small numbers of participants, several focus groups held on
the same topic should show consistency in the findings (Nestor & Schutt,
2015).

Using a mixed methods study as I have proposed
will be advantageous as it will help in comparing the qualitative and quantitative
data, enable participants to have a voice, integrate the way data is collected,
and provide flexibility and adaptation to study designs to obtain more information
than can be gotten from just one method, providing a more well-rounded research
study (Wisdom & Creswell, 2013).