ABSTRACT

Consideration of research methodology is often shaped by the assumption that particular approaches to research are superior and ought to be followed invariably. In one form, this view is that methods of investigation ought to be scientific; in another form, that studies of human beings must necessarily employ only qualitative techniques that are true to the nature of their subjects. Accordingly, many textbooks on method can be classified into those which recommend quantitative techniques exclusively, and are preoccupied with measurement (Marsh, 1988; Moser and Kalton, 1984), and those which propose qualitative techniques, and are preoccupied by meaning (Denzin and Lincoln, 1994; Silverman, 2000). In this chapter, the idea that there are some inherently superior methods of study which, if competently utilised, can secure superior knowledge, is rejected. Instead it is argued that both quantitative and qualitative techniques are valuable.