ERIC Number: ED237909
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1983-Aug
Reference Count: 0
Approaches to Combining Quantitative and Qualitative Social Support Research.
Social scientists tend to adopt either a qualitative or a quantitative perspective in research on social support. As single methods, each perspective has unique distinctions, limitations, and trade-offs. These approaches are based on differing epistemological assumptions. Qualitative research attempts to understand human behavior from the perspective of the respondent. Quantitative research attempts to understand human behavior from a generalized cause and effect perspective. The former method tends to sacrifice breadth for depth, while the latter sacrifices individuality for an explanation of the larger social phenomena. A research continuum which moves from qualitative/quantitative to quantitative/qualitative would balance the two methods. At the far left of the continuum (qualitative/quantitative), the research mode would be called exploring the parameters. The far right of the continuum (quantitative/qualitative) would be called suggesting interpretations. The third research mode in which qualitative and quantitative occur simultaneously would be referred to as providing examples. Each mode uses part of the qualitative perspective to provide a fuller understanding of quantitative findings. Data from qualitative research can help suggest interpretation and can enrich our understanding of the frequencies and statistical tests of quantitative research. (Examples of each of these modes, as found in the current social support literature, are provided.) (BL)
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Qualitative Research; Quantitative Research
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (91st, Anaheim, CA, August 26-30, 1983).