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Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods Critical Essay

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Updated: Nov 20th, 2019

Drop-Out Rates Among High School Students

The American government has always been concerned with the rate at which students have been dropping out of school, especially at high school levels. It is of great concern because these students would end up in the streets causing mayhem to the peace-loving citizens. When they become adults, they come to the realization that they cannot provide for themselves because very few employers would be willing to hire individuals who did not finish high school.

The department of education has therefore made deliberate efforts to ensure that all students go through high school education successfully. There has been ongoing research to establish the causes and the effects of school dropouts. Researchers have used both quantitative and qualitative approaches in their studies. The following two questions would best be answered through conducting qualitative and quantitative studies.

  1. What are some of the causes of dropping out of school among various students in various high schools?
  2. To what extend does this drop out affect the economy of the United States of America?

The first question should be answered through conducting a quantitative study. This would give definite causes of dropouts. This research question can easily be computed. Furthermore, it can be calculated empirically to determine the results in various quantitative forms. The second question is descriptive. The researcher would be expected to describe the extent at which the dropout rate would affect the economy of the United States.

Quantitative Research Methods and its Weaknesses

Quantitative research is a kind of study that utilizes figures to arrive at certain conclusions. In this regard, the research would take the form of a survey whereby the researcher would identify the sample and post questionnaires to them. In form of study, there is need to compare the relationship between variables in order to establish the causes and effects of each variable.

The researcher would be interested in knowing how different factors (independent variables) affect the rate of dropout in various high schools in the US (dependent variables). This would demand for a method that would be objective. The method should generalize the findings statistically. Quantitative method would be the most appropriate method to use in this research.

Quantitative research involves systematic study of a phenomenon by use of statistical tools. Its main objective is always to employ mathematical theories and models in developing its generalization. Therefore, quantitative method would help in this research. It would enable the researcher to test the hypotheses put forth for validity.

It would also allow the use of a sample as a representation of the entire population. It would help the researcher to use the data in determining how different factors affect students in school. The quantitative method would also help in knowing if there is any relationship between the independent variables identified and the independent variables.

Quantitative methods explain phenomena in terms of its effects. When there are unlimited resources to conduct research, it would be possible to collect maximum primary data from various respondents and run the results empirically in order to come up with a conclusion.

It would be easy for the researcher to use face-to-face interviews, which are very appropriate in gathering data (Berman and Wang 18). It is simple because it only entails the researcher sending substantial number of enumerators to the field. Despite the above advantages, it has some weaknesses. The first weakness is that it requires highly skilled personnel who can use the statistical tools such as SPSS and Stata. It can also be time-consuming to the researcher.

Qualitative Research Methods and its Weaknesses

Qualitative research is a descriptive research that tries to explain a phenomenon in a non-empirical manner. It is a deliberate effort aimed at explaining why a given phenomenon took place.

It also focuses on the impacts of a phenomenon. In this research, qualitative research would be very important. The second question could be answered successfully through conducting a qualitative study. Ethnographic research and phenomenology are some of the techniques used in qualitative research. Ethnography would help in investigating the culture of the American society.

In particular, it would be used to establish the culture of various schools and students. Phenomenology would help in investigating the realities on the ground about school dropout. With unlimited budget for this research, it would be possible to investigate the trend for the last one decade. The expert would then be called in to help in determining the relationship between students’ dropout rate and economic growth of the country.

It would be easy to describe the extent at which the current dropout affects the economy of the country. Qualitative methods have been relevant for social scientist for a very long time. Although qualitative research has various advantages as discussed above, it is not able to give empirical support for research questions and hypothesis. Qualitative methods only explain why a given pattern of events took place. This explains why the research should combine two methods to arrive at strong conclusions.

Works Cited

Berman, Evans, and X. Wang. Essential Statistics for Public Managers and Policy Analysts. Washington, DC: CQ Press, 2012. Print.

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IvyPanda. 2019. "Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods." November 20, 2019. https://ivypanda.com/essays/quantitative-and-qualitative-research-methods/.

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IvyPanda. (2019) 'Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methods'. 20 November.

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