Qualify or Quantify? Shifting Boundaries in Research Philosophy and Practice (Published)
The qualitative-quantitative demarcation in research inevitably pitches theory against practice. Central to this conflict is the problem of how to manage the data; which brings up questions of what to qualify/quantify, when to qualify/quantify it, and how and why to do so in either case. On the basis of the difficulties that emerge in the attempt to answer these questions in the light of actual research practice, this paper observes that the terms ‘qualitative research’ and ‘quantitative research’ can be misleading, and argues for a more flexible approach to data collection, analysis and display. It proposes that irrespective of the research paradigm within which one practises, the researcher may regard both qualitative and quantitative methods as primary resources in a spectrum from which one may reasonably draw to meet the specified objectives of the research.
Keywords: Data Management, Mixed Methods, Paradigm, Qualitative/Quantitative, Spectrum Approach