Philosophical Differences Between Qualitative and Quantitative Paradigms and Approaches
Prior to beginning work on this discussion, read Chapter 1 in the Frost e-book, Qualitative Research Methods in Psychology, and the required journal articles for this week. Also review last weeks:
PSY635 Week Two Scenario
Three instructors teach the same online course and have devised an experimental intervention to
improve student motivation to actively participate in discussions. The course is a core
requirement for all psychology students, and students are assigned to particular sections at
random rather than by instructor choice.
The average class size for this particular course is 45 students. To get a large enough sample for
adequate analysis, the instructors have decided to include two sections for each instructor in the
experiment. The first section will serve as the control group (no experimental intervention), and
the second section will receive the intervention. Anonymous data about the dependent variable
will be pooled for the three sections comprising the control group and the three sections that
receive the intervention.
The independent variable is the intervention, which may be an incentive such as digital badges or
an instructional intervention involving changing the instructions for the guided response. The
dependent variable will be the number of response (not initial) posts per student that exceed two
lines of text. The researchers have decided to use the Week Four discussion for data collection,
reasoning that it may take some time for the intervention to become effective.
In that scenario, the three instructors realized there are limits to the insights they can gain through anonymous counting of discussion posts. The instructors would like to answer two additional research questions: (a) How do their students actually feel about the intervention? and (b) How do students view the influence of the intervention on their learning inside and outside of the classroom (if applicable)?
In your initial post, compare the characteristics of appropriate research designs and recommend a qualitative research design that would facilitate answering the instructors additional questions. Explain the philosophical paradigm underlying the recommended approach. Evaluate the required articles for this week and describe the assumptions the instructors might have to set aside as they enter into a qualitative research study. Be sure to identify any ethical issues that may apply to the research. Review the characteristics of the quantitative approach you described in the Week Two discussion. Explain the ways in which the quantitative approach and paradigm differs from the qualitative approach and paradigm you have recommended here.