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Discussion on possible suitability of quantitative research approach
It is an evident fact that the global economic scenario is effectively influenced by business diversification. Indeed, the global business network in the present context of economic globalization is duly influenced by the involvement of SMEs and for most of the countries; SMEs are playing vital roles in terms of radical growth in economic beneficence. Naturally, employees are the prime asset for the SMEs irrespective of the industry specification or demographic variation. Under this crucial scenario, the impact of training and development for employees of SMEs is immense since competition amongst SMEs at the global scale is impulsive in nature.
From this perspective, it can be stated without ambiguity that any research in this area must be integrated with evaluative perceptions. Nevertheless, the quantitative research approach can do a lot to favor this objective of the researcher. Accordingly, it can be noted that a quantitative survey followed by an in-depth case study analysis can help the researcher to reach the research goals (Berger, 2019). On this ground, it can be argued that quantitative research approach is most suitable for this research area. The underlying reason may be specified, as that quantitative research will give sufficient scopes to the researcher for gathering as well as analyzing data relevant to local SME's training activities. Thus, it can be emphasized that a quantitative approach can leverage towards a better understanding of dynamics existing in and between the global or local SMEs duly concerned with training and skill development.
Comparative and contrasting nature of qualitative and quantitative research approaches
Scientific research is nothing but a systematic procedure through which a researcher can focus on being with a specific research objective so that a multitude of information can be gathered for analysis purpose. In this context, research approaches are distinct planned procedures through which detailed methods regarding data collection can be acknowledged followed by suitable analysis and interpretation. On this ground, as propounded by Brannen (2017), selecting an appropriate research approach must be aligned with nature being integrated with a research problem. Accordingly, qualitative and quantitative approaches are two distinctive ways through which a researcher can conduct research systematically.
In this agreement, a qualitative research approach is generally utilized for understanding and exploring the individual meanings being ascribed to a societal or human problem. In this view, quantitative research can be assessed as a systematic formally structured process that prior induced with the utilization of statistical approaches in collection, presentation, interpretation and analysis of data. On contrary, as deduced by McNabb (2015), quantitative research is a specific approach by means of which objective theories can be tested properly. In other words, qualitative research is an unstructured but systematic method that generally utilizes descriptive or narrative approaches throughout the flow of research. Apart from that, examining specific relationships amongst different variables existing throughout the research process may also be evaluated in this manner. Irrespective of this differential purview, both research approaches are following a systematic rigorous procedure for exploring specific implications of a research subject matter (Antwi & Hamza, 2015).
In general, researchers arguing for quantitative research utilize a deductive/convergent reasoning which is also known as top-bottom approach since such an approach is directly linked with the hypothetical analysis. On this ground, it can be seen that a quantitative approach is leveraged by using experimental evidence for explaining those hypotheses that are further functional for establishing a relationship between dependent and independent variables (Hammersley, 2017). On the contrary, qualitative approach dependent on inductive/divergent reasoning via which new theoretical purview can be generated for experimenting on and exploring research phenomena. A quantitative approach is famous as bottom-top approach as it generally begins with a specific domain of observation that is further followed by the creation of a developmental pattern, creation of a hypothesis for supporting the theoretical background of the research drawing a sophisticated conclusion primarily based on different ideologies. Accordingly, Berger (2019) has specified that the qualitative research approach is grounded in explaining the meaning of different variables rather showing their internal relationship. However, Antwi & Hamza (2015) has forwarded a different viewpoint as per which apart from experimenting theory being grounded by the qualitative research, quantitative research is also a vital role player in developing theories based on researcher's predictions.
In this concern, Hammarberg, Kirkman & De Lacey (2016) has emphasized on specifying the overall importance of ontology (existence of reality) and epistemology (existence of knowledge) with respect to research paradigm. Accordingly, quantitative research is generally accustomed to positivism philosophy, as this philosophical model is reliable for accumulating truth and knowledge from single research prediction. Apart from that, empirical confirmation, as well as experimentation, is also facilitated through this approach. In contrast, qualitative research has primarily adhered to interpretivism philosophy that is subjective to drawing knowledge from the interpretation of multiple views of individual experiences and understanding.
A literature review is an integral part of research progress. Both qualitative and quantitative research methods are reliable for reviewing the literature part although can be accomplished in a different manner. As opined by Lock & Seele (2015), quantitative researchers generally review the literature in detail prior to study commencement. On the other hand, in qualitative research, brief reviewing of literature is done at the study beginning. However, an opposing viewpoint by Bryman (2017) is saying that qualitative researchers must follow reviewing of literature part after detailed data analysis so that chances of having biased results also known as experimental bias can be minimized. From this viewpoint, it is arguable that both qualitative and quantitative research methods are responsible for validating the importance of the operational definitions so that reader's understanding can be promoted at an optimized level.
Quantitative research, as evident, is conducted under a controlled/experimental environment so that result accuracy can be maintained throughout the research advancement. Contradicting this viewpoint Hammersley (2017) has mentioned that quantitative research may experience a biased result, as not always a realistic environment can be managed by the researchers. On a contradiction, qualitative research on many occasions is also renamed as the naturalistic science since a natural setting relevant to research subject matter is established in this process. This step enables a researcher to increase its understandability with regard to the factors that may influence the study course of that research.
The sampling method is another criterion that holds different subjectivities with respect to quantitative and qualitative research approaches. In general, quantitative research is accustomed to the selection of sample size utilizing a probability sampling method so that results, as obtained, can be aligned with the generalized population (McNabb, 2015). On the other hand, qualitative sampling is generally associated with a non-probability sampling method. Another inherent feature that is differentiating with respect to both qualitative and quantitative research approach is the data collection tool. In this concern, quantitative research can be viewed as a structured, systematic and rigid research type that generally utilizes SOP (standard operating procedure) for collecting raw data (Hammarberg, Kirkman & De Lacey, 2016). In contradiction, although qualitative research approach is allowing following a systematic research process, such an approach can be recognized more like a flexible approach in which unstructured instruments are used for gathering data.
Overall, as pointed out by Lock & Seele (2015), qualitative and quantitative research approaches can be differentiated from conceptual and methodological viewpoints. From conceptual viewpoint, whereas qualitative approach is concerned with interpreting human behavior taking into account informant's perspective, quantitative approach is associated with discovering of diverse data related to social phenomena. Besides this, from methodological viewpoint, whereas in qualitative approach data are being analyzed taking into account thematic overview from informants, numerical comparisons are being utilized in quantitative approaches followed for disseminating statistical inferences.
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