The last two decades have seen much discussion focused on the relative merits and demerits of qualitative and quantitate methods. They are the two central approaches in social science investigations (Morgan, 2007), a sort of the dominant paradigm or as Creswell (1998) put it, a “basic set of assumptions” that guide inquiries and permeate every aspect of a research inquiry (Lincoln, 1990).
The epistemological value of research methods lie in their ability to help explain new ideas or detect hitherto unnoticed patterns in human or technical behavior and in some cases enable action on the information gleaned. Questions need answers and the way we find our answers through research is as S.J. Tracy, says, “…marked by paradigmatic arguments about whether the best and most valid research comes from counting or narrating.” The debate about these two methods is, perhaps, the most stringent in media studies. Media research has long been dominated by quantitative methods which have contributed much to its standing in the field of social sciences (Hilger, 2007).
Much of the arguments about the relevant merits and demerits of qualitative and quantitative methods are centered on the prevalent claim that as methods qualitative and quantitative procedures are essentially different in their ability to ensure the validity and reliability of research findings (Mays & Pope 1995).
Research is about discovery and therefore the choice of methods should be one that best impacts or is most suitable to the issue being examined. Understanding the fundamental dissimilarities help, perhaps, to make a wiser choice.
The differences, as Mays & Pope argue, are often, more “one of degree than of type,” for t...
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... young people, into the fold?
Using two or more methods also works as convergent validation of the qualitative and quantitative components which in turn helps bridge the chasms between. And it’s important that this issue of triangulation is increasingly becoming a part of media academic conversation today. Methods used in media studies are often central tools areas like education, sociology, and political science. For example mainstream media often serves as data sources for political science related questions.
There is a distinct tradition in the literature on social science research methods that advocates the use of multiple methods. This form of research strategy is usually described as one of convergent methodology, multimethod/multitrait (Campbell and Fiske, 1959), convergent validation or, what has been called "triangulation" (Webb et al., 1 966).
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