Quantitative Research Methods
Quantitative research is rooted in the positivist and post‑positivist paradigm: the purpose of research is to develop confidence that a particular knowledge claim is true or false by collecting evidence by means of objective observations.
Research design can be defined as a process of creating an empirical test to support of refute a knowledge claim. Two tests of knowledge claims exist according to this paradigm:
a) is the knowledge claim true in this situation? If it is, we can speak of internal validity.
b) is the knowledge claim true in other situations? If it is, we can speak of external validity or generalizability.
Most quantitative research is of two types: it is aimed at discovering causal (or correlational) relationships or it is descriptive.
The experimental method is the only method of research that can truly test hypotheses concerning cause-and-effect relationships. The fundamental assumption of this paradigm is that a researcher needs to eliminate possible alternative explanations. To make a knowledge claim that one variable caused a change in another. The knowledge claim is strengthened when the results can be demonstrated repeatedly under similar conditions.
Criticisms regarding experimental research (ER)
Feminists have objected that:
1. ER is based on rigid control and manipulations of variables which are male characteristics
2. a male sexist bias can influence the whole research
3. many theories are based on the study of male or all white subjects
4. the laboratory setting is unnatural and does not reflect human experience
5. experimental studies disregard the context of human behaviour and their explanation of cause and effect is therefore limited
6. there may be ethical problems when a treatment is given to the experimental group but not to the control group
7. the standard way of writing about the research often plays down the subjective part of it (i.e. people avoid using the first person singular)
There are some feminists however who do not oppose the use of experimental methods and even use them.
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