Discussion in 'Education, Teaching and related degrees' started by Stephanie24, Sep 11, 2019.
Perhaps, But what you posted is.
Less than 11% of articles in top tier journals in criminology and criminal justice employ qualitative methods and less than 15% of articles in non-top-tier criminal justice journals utilize and report results from qualitative studies (Tewksbury, 2009).
Tewksbury, R. (2009). Qualitative versus Quantitative Methods: Understanding Why Qualitative Methods are Superior for Criminology and Criminal Justice. Journal of Theoretical and Philosophical Criminology, 1(1), 38-58.
I've done a quantitative doctoral dissertation and a qualitative doctoral thesis.
The qualitative one was much, much harder.
Part of that was because I took an inductive, theory-building approach. In the quantitative study, I set up an armchair theory and (deductively) tested it. Easy. Write the hypotheses, construct the device, decide on the statistical tests and standards, collect the data, analyze it, and report. Done. The qualitative study was like peeling back layers of an onion...and finding more layers and more onion beneath. Take hundreds of pages of data, read it all, code it line-by-line (constructing codes--including axial codes--as you go), examine the phenomena that emerges, build a theory around it, and then argue how it explains the phenomenon. Brutal.
I'm not surprised at the split. Much of it is driven by tradition. Qualitative research has only (relatively) recently emerged as an acknowledged form of research; a lot of people consider it "soft." But it isn't.
Quantitative studies let us analyze large amounts of data--rough data with discrete boundaries that don't fully explain the elements of the phenomenon and are unable to accommodate nuance--or emergent issues raised during the research. It has the advantage of being useful in sampling in order to better understand the population sampled. But don't fall for one trap: objectivity. It is not "objective." The numbers are the numbers, sure. But what is going to be measured, how it is measured, to what standard, and how data are identified and to be collected are all very, very subjective.
Qualitative studies are particularly good for examining phenomena not well-suited for quantitative studies. Ethnographies (including autoethnographies), case studies, hermeneutics on historical documents, interviews, observations, phenomenology, and even theory-building (like grounded theory) are all relevant. The outcome can be theory testing--taking an extant theory and applying it to the coded data. But it can also be theory-building, finding explanations for the phenomena under study. It is very disciplined, and it is very hard.
So which? It depends. It depends on your research topic, your approach (inductive or deductive), your individual proclivities, and the expectations of the doctoral program and/or the field of study. But if I had a choice--and I've had two--I'd do a deductive, quantitative study if at all possible. Especially if my goal was to graduate. YMMV.
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