Qualitative Research in Social Science Essay

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The field of social science is very complex with main field branches that cover
anthropology, economics, history, political science, psychology, social psychology, and sociology. These main branches in turn contain subfields of study and there are still other disciplines in which social research is done including criminology, demography, education, and nursing (Bernard 6). Social science research is split between the positivistic (quantitative) approach and the interpretive-phenomenological approach (qualitative). Social science research often contains a combination of both approaches. But, qualitative research investigates the why and how about human behavior, the reasons that govern behavior. These reasons are complex and cannot be fully understood through only quantitative methods.

In qualitative research, data is collected through direct observation, in depth interviews, participation in the setting and/or an analysis of different forms of printed materials. Qualitative data collection is typically purposively done; selection is based on whether an event fits a specific characteristic. The data is categorized into patterns for organization and reporting results (usually visual in the form of flow charts, maps, or presented in matrix or table form). Data collection is typically approached by traditional methods of phenomenology, some form of field study, grounded theory, and ethnography. A brief description of these methods follows.

Phenomenology: describes in words a person’s reality; a reflection of one’s
consciousness and perceptions (Bernard 20).

Field Study: involves some form of field work either through participant observation or by indirectly through collection of data (Bernard 318).

Grounded The...

... middle of paper ...

...evelop a complete view of human thoughts and behavior.

Qualitative research would greatly serve my research on implementing a Course
Management System (CMS) in an urban education environment. Methods of data collection for my proposal include interviews (students and instructors), performance assessments tests and field work involving the use of the CMS by participants. The initial data collected from the interviews and performance assessments will used to direct the course of this study.

Works Cited

Bernard, H. Russel. Social Research Methods: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches Thousand Oaks, CA Sage 2000. Print.

Pomrenke, Marlene. “Using Grounded Theory to Understand Resiliency in Pre-Teen Children of Higher Conflict Families.” The Qualitative Report. 12.3 (2007):365-374 Web. 9 Nov. 2014.

QSR International. Web 9 Nov. 2014.

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