Research is definable as the studious inquiry, experimentation observation that aims at discovering and provision of interpretation facts that are attributable to particular object or subject of study. Research is divided into different types namely; the qualitative research, the quantitative research, the pragmatic research, and the advocacy research (Ngulube 2015). These approaches have almost the same basics, and therefore the paper will explore more on the definitions and exploration of different types of strategies, designs, and research paradigms, taking into account principles and practices of each approach. The paper further critically examines each type with illustrating examples and diagrams and then making a conclusion of a preferred approach of design based on the discussion.
Research strategies are definable as the art of planning and directing all the operations in a research process to achieve the specified goal. While the research design is definable as the detailed plan of how an investigation is supposed to take place from data collection, instruments of measurements used and how they are to be employed and the methods of data analysis. Research paradigm has many definitions by various authors. The word has its origins in a Greek word ‘paradigm,’ meaning pattern. According to Humphrey (2013) the paradigm is an integrated cluster of substantive concepts, variables, and problems that are attached to similar methodological approaches. Therefore paradigm to most author it is the collection of beliefs and concepts.
There are different main types of research strategies, and these are observations, interview, documents, files focus groups, and many others. For the purpose of this paper, a few strategies will be discussed.
An interview is a common strategy for most of the researchers since listening to the participants provides first-hand information on the subject under study. They are either open-ended or closed-ended question depending on the objective and the research approach. The researcher records the responses of the participants for later and further analysis.
These are surveys designed to gather information that answerS questions such as why, where and many other qualitative data. For example, unlike the quantitative data, where the numerical data will be engaged, the open-ended surveys will aim at understanding the more reason behind a particular behavior. For example, about the topic of the poverty and racial hate, the survey will provide more idea on why there is too much hatred between the different racial groups and why the upper-class people always mistreat the lower class in every interviewer’s words.
Observation is considered as the undistorted source of information to most of the researchers since the researcher is capable of observing and making their recording based on the facts. With the direct observation, a social scientist is capable of taking into account the behavior of people’s daily behavior about the specified topic. For example, in the subject of the relationship between the poverty and racial hate, the scientist will mostly focus on the different classes of people regarding wealth; the lower class and the upper class, their behavior towards each other such as in public settings such as parks, hotels (Popescul and Jitaru 2017). These observations will provide information on how a good number of wealthy men will handle most of the lower classes people such as watchmen, waiters, and many others.
Artifacts and Documents
Observation can also be in stationary objects such as artifacts. Mostly the archaeologist and anthropologist who tend to study the lifestyle of past people through the study of where they lived and what they used to employ the strategy. Similarly, researchers can also get information from the second-hand sources such as going through past a recording that shows history.
Content analysis is a method used by social scientist to understand and interpret the social life through the use of words and images found in music, arts, documents and any other cultural product. The researchers analyze how the images and the words are put into use coming up with particular inferences (Popescul and Jitaru 2017). For example, the researchers might examine certain words in music, or video perceived to be racist and come up with a conclusive data on the level of racial hate and the reasons for such attitude.
Research Designs and Approaches
These are qualitative and the quantitative. As defined above, research strategies provide a detailed plan of how a specific investigation should be carried out (Haruna et al. 2017). Therefore it is imperative for every researcher before outlining the strategy, and the research objectives should be well established, thereby helps in adopting the right strategy. The quantitative research strategy is definable as the method that aims at revealing a specified audience’s range of characters and the perceptions that drive it about specific topics. The methods of the qualitative researchers are presumed to originate from the social and behavioral sciences that are the sociology, anthropology, and psychology since they mostly use the non-numerical data, which seeks in understanding and interpreting social life.
The primary principle of the quantitative approach is objectivity, to enable researchers to avoid their behavior, attitude to influence the result of the investigation (Hernandez 2015). This is achievable through practical measurement, observation, and study of the hypothesis. For example, in a situation of poverty and racial discrimination, the researcher will be forced to have a numerical value of all those that are poor and are at the same time discriminated on the line of the race.
Qualitative research tends to fit the social scientist because it provides answers to the questions arising from different kinds of human behavior, actions, interactions, for example, the interaction between the poverty and racial hate. The process adopted by qualitative research tends inductive to come up with deductive reasoning since the hypothesis is not usually pre-determined (Popescal & Jitaru 2017). The principles of the qualitative research are the freedom that it offers for participants selection and are free to go beyond the initials response of participants to learn more. The approach tends to involve less number of participants since most of the strategies employed are always labor intensive.
On the other hand, quantitative research methods are definable as the method that aims at providing the level of occurrence of a specific issue regarding numbers and calculations. The technique tends to answer the questions how many and how often unlike in the qualitative that is based on why and how (McCusker 2015). The methods are always based more on the random sampling and structured data collection instruments, and the findings are easy to present, summarize and make a conclusion. The conventional methods used in data collection n include interviews, focus groups, narratives, participants, and observations.
The quantitative research aims at providing detailed information on a particular research topic. Therefore, it is more exploratory, while the quantitative research method aims at providing statistical data on the specified issue making it conclusive. The qualitative research is preferable at early stages of most of the researches while the quantitative is recommended in making conclusions.
A pragmatic approach is commonly known as the mixed method, which use numerous methodologies to get a result (Sagliocca et al. 2013). The pragmatic researchers tend to recognize that every approach has limitations and using more than one approach help in solving any difficulty met during the process. For example, in a study of poverty and racial discrimination, a large number of people from different races might be an interview, after that, a detailed questionnaire developed to capture both the quantitative and qualitative data.
The advocacy approach is perceived more as a participatory approach by the participants. This approach is more applicable in situations where positive change is presumed to be adopted among a specified subject, who is always referred to as co-researchers (Haruna et al. 2017). Therefore the thoughts, feelings, and views of the subject are very critical. The researcher assumes a neutral position.
According to Humphrey (2013), research paradigms are characterized by their ontology, epistemology, and methodology. Ontology is more concerned with the nature of existence that is a determinant point of all researchers. The epistemology tends to deal more with the nature of the knowledge that brings about the relationship between the already known and the unknown. Ontology and epistemology are always fundamental to the research since they provide the base, and direct the choice of methodologies and methods applied. The methodology is the strategy that justifies the choice of particular techniques used, or to is used in data collection, analysis, and interpretation (Spencer 2015). Therefore the methods of data collections are always varied following the design and objective of a particular research topic.
There are classifications of paradigm these are positivism, interpretive and critical postmodernism. Positivism paradigm is commonly used in exploring the social reality that is based on philosophical ideas, this according to August Comte, a celebrated French philosopher. Comte examined that the only best ways of understanding human being behaviors are through observation that explained most of the cause-effects issues (Ryan 2015). Most of the positivists believe that by applying the natural sciences on the practices of social sciences, it is possible to understand and control the natural world since they are more committed to the neutrality, statistical measurements, quantifiable elements, and observable events that prove the causal-effect law. On the other hand, the interpretive approach is associated with both Max Weber and Alfred Schutz, who presented distinguishing features of the interpretive paradigm (Haruna et al. 2017). The interpretive approach states that reality is complex and is in the form of various layers; and that the social world should be studied through the eyes of the participants without the involvement of the researchers.
At the ontology stage, a reality is assumed to exist driven by the natural laws and mechanisms. Therefore the social reality is to the external individual. Therefore, to every researcher, there is that real existence that is known and the one that is to be understood, these two exist independently. In the epistemology, positivists believe in dualist and objectivist. Objectivism is a critical aspect of any data collection since the knower and the item to know are considered as different entities (Sagliocca et al. 2013). The interpretive ontology tends to hold on relativism, as that reality differs from one person to another leading to the existence of multiple facts that are socially constructed. The epistemology of the interpretivism tends to adhere to subjectivist views, in that both the subjective meanings and interpretation are vital. According to Ryan (2015), an object is incapable of adequately describing the subject, and the subject is also incapable of describing the object of discussion. On this basis, therefore, the relationship between the knower and the subject under investigation is that of involvement and not a detachment. Positivist’s methodology focuses mostly on giving explanations on the causes- effect relationship, by using the hypothesis, questionnaires, and experimental strategies. At this point, the researcher seeks the answer through bringing together the dependent and independent variables at the same time controlling all the threats to the validity. The interpretive methodology tends to use different methodologies such as the case studies to make inferences to the subject under investigation, this because the interpretive believe that the social world is understandable only from the standpoint of the individuals who are the participants of the investigations (Saunders and Lewis 2012). Therefore most of the interpretive researchers always start from the participant, through taking into account the biography, gender, social class race, and ethnicity. With such information’s, the interpretive are capable of having a thick description of a situation such as a relationship between poverty and the racial hate.
Methods in positivist focus on the data collection methods to gather numerical data that are tabulated and statically analyzed. The possible data collection includes participants, observations, documents, and many other numerical sources. Unlike the positivists, the interpretive employ purposeful sampling and select individuals that are proven to be rich in information. For example, the researcher on determining the poverty and racial hate will tend to take only individuals that have suffered racial hate and poverty discrimination to offer more information on their predicament (Spencer 2015). The interpretive researcher will rely more on the qualitative data that are categorized into various such as observations, interviews and, documents, questionnaires and many others. However, the interview is always considered as the preferable method.
The example of that illustrates both the qualitative research method and quantitative research method relating to poverty and racial discrimination mostly between Americans and Africans. In a qualitative method, the researcher focuses more on the life history, dynamics of the welfare provision, neighborhoods, and organizations in America. From the findings, it was derivable through qualitative research that the daily lives of the low –wage Africans was worse than that of America. Among those interviewed, they tend to face discrimination because of the stigma placed on them by the high-class individuals who always think that they are beggars every time. The previous research also shows that there is a positive attitude in an employed African than unemployed one, thereby boost their interaction ability (Saunders and Lewis 2012). The weakness of the qualitative approach on this topic is that it is unable to provide numerical data on the number of the poor household who are at also mistreated because of their racial background; otherwise, it offers personal experience in detail.
While on the same topic, a quantitative research method will focus on the same dynamics but with more emphasis on the number of households. The data will bring out the number of the households that have been poor and have always been affected by the nature of their race. As much as the quantitative approach provides the numerical data, it is unable to provide clear reasons behind poverty and the discrimination rate among the Americans and Africans.
From the above discussion, it is in conclusion that there is no best approach over the other but about the suggested research on the relationship between poverty and racial discrimination among the Americans and Africans living in America, and then the pragmatic approach is very viable. The approach will mix both the qualitative and quantitative data collection approaches hence will enable me to have full information from the personal views and the numerical number of the affected people. Also, the approach is capable of providing information that is able in helping to solve the problems since it will take into account the feelings of the subjects that are under investigation.
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