Thursday, April 9, 2015

How do we Study Personality? (Part 3)

I'd like to begin our discussion of research by making the distinction that we alluded to in the second part of lecture 1. And that's the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research. Understanding quantitative research as distinctly different from qualitative research, quantitative research can usually be identified by having a coefficient with it, a number. Quantifiable research has to do with counting, quantifying, to count. So anything that uses statistical measures, standardization, anything that has a numerical coefficient assigned to it is considered to be quantifiable research.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, is usually descriptive in nature. It's usually not measured. It's usually more of a description certainly as is evident in a case study or in observing a group or observing children and play behavior. That's qualifiable behavior, qualitative research.
Sometimes qualitative research takes on the guise of quantitative research. An example of this would be the Likert scale. So when an individual self assesses the amount of pain they have on a scale of one to five. It looks as if it's quantitative research. But it's really a qualitative measure.
So we have to be careful when we're analyzing research and we're understanding research findings that sometimes assigning a number to something arbitrarily, such as happens in a Likert scale of pain description, is the guise of quantitative research, when it's actually qualitative research. You're just using a number to describe an individual's interpretation of their level of pain or whatever it is that one is researching.