Generalisation: The Identical Issue In Social Research?

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Another commonly acknowledged theoretical issue in social research is generalisation. Many scholars (e.g. Kerlinger and Lee, 2000; Shadish, Cook and Campbell, 2002; Polit and Beck, 2010) believed that the notion of generalisability is a primary criterion for appraising the quality of a quantitative research, instead of a qualitative research. According to Polit and Beck (2010), the notion of generalisation mainly discussed by quantitative researchers, refers to ‘an act of reasoning’ that contains drawing wide conclusions from inference grounded on the researched. Recognising that many of the qualitative researchers (e.g. Erlandson et at, 1993; Seale, 1999; Denzin and Lincoln, 1995) disagreed or even deny the significance of the generalisability …show more content…
In challenging the notion of generalisation, qualitative researchers like Erlandson (1993) claimed that research findings are always implanted within a context that extrapolation demanded by generalisation can never be completely justified (Erlandson, 1993). However, some qualitative researchers (e.g. Ayres et al, 2003; Misco, 2007) commences to view the significance of generalisation in qualitative research for assuring that qualitative findings can be practically accepted as the major evidence sources. In discussing the significance of generalization for qualitative research, Lewis and Ritchie (2003) argued that qualitative research methods can generate limited generalisation when the researchers’ aim is placed on surpassing the specific research context and sample in their findings (Lewis and Ritchie, 2003). Misco (2007) further asserted that the extrapolation is especially appropriate for in-depth qualitative research because of their highly detailed and insightful nature of findings that are not merely unique for a designated setting or participant …show more content…
In her study, her data was merely collected from interviewing five women exercising street-based prostitution, and from six experts in three different occupations (e.g. psychologist, social workers and police officers) working with prostitutes and their children. Therefore, her research findings are partial and not representative enough for all prostitute mothers with children because it was only valid and represented of the group of respondents participating in the research (Mandiuc, 2014). As Payne and Williams (2011) claimed, the use of particular qualitative methods (e.g. individual interview) can weaken the range of representational generalisation because of its small chosen researched samples (Payne and Williams, 2011). Similar to Mandiuc (2014)’s research of having a relatively small sample size, McClelland and Newell (2008)’s study collected data from twenty women participants (six focus groups) from a women clinic at a drug agency, but their research is seen as less problematic in term of generalizing the data regarding experiences of motherhood from mothers in prostitution and substance use. This is due to the fact that their data was collected by using convenience sample, where they made available of a photo of

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