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Methods of Research: Qualitative vs Quantitative, Surveys and Case Studies

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Added on  2019-09-22

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This article discusses the importance of selecting the right unit of analysis and theory building approach for your research question. It also covers the different methods of research such as qualitative and quantitative approaches, surveys and case studies.
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1. In the given research question, the ‘creation of jobs in Alabama’ is the dependent variable and the government’s sponsorship of non-profit organization training is the independent variable. It seems obvious from the statement that the actions of the government will have some impact on the job creation therefore the actions have been identified as the independent variable. The measurement of both the aspects can be done through various methods. One of the methods that can be employed is the qualitative study where the respondents from thesame field will be contacted. The respondents will be asked questions modeled to understand the research question. The collective opinion of appreciable number of experienced individuals who have spent more than fifteen years of their lives in employment sector and government can be theappropriate ones to respond to this question. Their experience can help in understand the likely impact of the actions. As per the individual assessment of both the variables are concerned, it can be recommended thata pilot study is considered on a small scale. On the other hand, past training activities of the non-profit organizations can be gathered through their archived records. After that, the change in the employment rate can be understood within that period. Though it is obvious that the impact on the employment from the non-profit training would not be the only factor, yet the change in the employment rate and the expenditure made by the non-profit organizations can show up some correlation.The research question is oriented towards understanding whether the impact of government’s action is good or bad. Another interpretation can be that the researcher wants to understand the process of the impact. Therefore, using ‘how’ as the trigger in the question has brought in some vagueness which should not be there for better clarity of the research question and minimum confusion. 2. Unit of analysis refers to the entity which is under consideration for analysis. Research objectives are what researchers pursue through a research (Holsti, 1969). The research objective acts as a goal for the researchers. Moreover, the research objectives help the researchers in identifying the dependent and independent variables which are studied further. Unit of analysis can be anything such as individuals or social organization. The unit that needs to be analyzed completely depends on the area that is under consideration. As for example, if a researcher wantsto understand the impact of no-smoking advertisement on the student community, then the unit of analysis in this can be the student community. They are the dependent variable on whom the impact needs to be studied of the advertisement. On the opposite side, considering advertisement as the unit of study and studying the impact of student’s behavior on airing the no-smoking advertisement will never fulfill the research objective stated above. Therefore, it can be stated from here that the selection of the unit of analysis entirely depends on the research objectives or the questions.
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