Nature and Purpose of Research, and Developing a Bibliography Connections Two Kinds of Research Let’s say that a researcher wants to find out whether the 400,000 adults in a county are satisfied or dissatisfied with their public schools. She can’t very well ask them all, so she decides to ask 2,000 of them. Although that’s a very small percentage [what is it, by the way?], 2000 itself is a big enough number to produce reliable results IF chosen at random to avoid bias and judgment. To do so she will use random sampling. It’s also too large a population to observe and interview all of them, but that’s OK because there’s a very basic question here which can be easily asked, answered, and collected. This is a single issue which is simple but also significant; It requires wide and broad coverage, like a wide shallow pond. This study describes one kind or branch of research. The main question can also be written as a statement which can be tested; proven or disproven, so to speak. In this way, despite a huge amount of statistical data, the researcher can report the findings by repeating the question; and then the hypothesis, reporting that it was either confirmed or rejected, with statistics and analysis to support it. Another researcher wishes to study the public or community status of veteran high school teachers in the county: when they’re out and about and “in the marketplace” so to speak. He decides on carefully focused observation of those teachers as they go about their daily lives outside of the school over a period of several months. While “veteran H S teachers” must be defined, this is clearly a much smaller group and may be a small enough population to study all of them. But more likely it’s still too large because such time-consuming and exhaustive observation is required, that a small number of subjects – veteran teachers – is necessary. This study requires intense and in-depth coverage, like a deep narrow well. That describes the other branch of research, where a human interest question is explored: through motives, or relationships, or an everyday phenomenon. Interpretation, judgment, and/or potential bias in this kind of study all focus entirely on the researcher, who must avoid polluting the results by finding what he wants to find. The qualitative researcher reports the findings in narrative form and not with empirical evidence; through in-depth composition rather than statistics
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