There are a few different methods of research available for those in positions within their company to perform research. There are a lot of non-researchers that are in positions within companies who think that qualitative, and quantitative research go hand in hand, but that just is not the case. There are four different types of research that can be used. The first two are qualitative and quantitative. The other types of research methods are mixed and action.
The difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods, for starters is, qualitative is used when a researcher doesn’t really know what to expect (Mora, Michaela, 2010). Data is gathered so that it can be used to determine what the big picture is but the picture is very unclear before all of the data is gathered. Quantitative research is research that is more concrete in its information and is more used to quantify problems and identify ways to fix those problems (Mora, Michaela 2010). Quantitative research is used to evaluate the data that is already known as far as how much data there is to evaluate.
Mixed and action research methodologies are the most popular forms of research methods. Even though these types of research are the most popular they poses differences. Each one depends on the type of research that needs to be conducted (Christ, Thomas 2013). Even though it has been said that qualitative and quantitative research don’t go hand in hand, that is sometimes not always the case. With the mixed research method, both the quantitative and qualitative research methods are integrated in order to get a bigger and better picture (Christ, Thomas 2013). Action research means what it says, no real planning goes into the action they are going to take to resolve a problem; it’s trial and error. Action is taken and if it doesn’t work out, the action is addressed and a new action is used to address the problem (Obrien, Rory 1998).
Qualitative data research and action research seem to have similarities. Qualitative research seems to be used to determine the amount of data that there is to be used to look at the amount of data that there is to work with. Action research is research that is done to just start doing research without having an idea mind to begin with, to an extent. Qualitative and action research are the probably the best ways to go about conducting research. The risk is there but the risk is there whether or not there is a long thought process before actually conducting the research. To simply start looking without knowing what you are looking for opens the door for more possible ideas and problems that need addressing.
Key strategies, approaches, analysis, and inquiries of qualitative data are to develop an initial understanding of the problem. Even if there is no information to go on, there should still be a general understanding of the data from the beginning. Identifying a range of ideas about something is another type of research that it is used for. Another type of research that qualitative research is used for is to identify different types of people in groups and categories (Mora, Michaela 2010). It’s also used to uncover underlying motivations that influence decision making and to ultimately use this information to perform a quantitative study (Mora, Michaela 2010). Qualitative studies are used as a backbone so to speak for quantitative research.
The action plan has four basic steps and those are plan, act, observe, and reflect (O’brien, Rory 1998). As each stage of the research is conducted there are also steps that must be taken in between each one to ensure that the right path is being followed to find useful information (Obrien, Rory 1998). The five stages within the four main stages are identifying the problem, planning a course of action, taking action, evaluating the action after the action has been taken, and identifying the findings (Obrien, Rory 1998). These five stages may sound like an elaborate cycle of planning but they really happen as quickly as they come. Once the research stage has begun then certain details will be revealed and it is then, through the five stages, that you figure out what to do with those details.
It all depends on the type of research project that is at hand that will determine what type of research method will be used. If it’s a company where there is little knowledge of the details pertaining to the data and/or the employees then the action or the qualitative approach would be the best way to start gathering information.
Christ, Thomas (2013). Mixed Method And Action Research Workshop. Retrieved from, http://www.pacrim.hawaii.edu/pacriminfo/pacrim2009/events/workshops/workshop04.php
Michaela, Mora (2010). Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research – When To Use Which. Retrieved from, http://www.surveygizmo.com/survey-blog/quantitative-qualitative-research/
Obrien, Rory (1998). An Overview Of The Methodological Approach Of Action Research. Retrieved from, http://www.web.ca/robrien/papers/arfinal.html#_Toc26184651