The Importance Of Qualitative Research In Higher Education

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Research plays an important part in the culture of American education. Educational research has gained popularity and respect as administrators see the value research for institutional effectiveness (Cohen and Brawer, 2008). A direct result of this growing popularity is that most community colleges how have institutional research departments. As accrediting bodies demand accountability and transparency, institutional research had become vital to success. In the current discourse about the efficacy of higher education, books such as Academically Adrift call into question the value of college. Arum and Roksa (2011) claim a kind of disinterest in maintaining high standards on the part of instructors and students exists and that the end result …show more content…
Qualitative research is valuable when studying information relevant to specific populations. Qualitative method may be the right approach when “the researcher aims to explore a problem, honor the voices of participants, map the complexity of the situation, and convey multiple perspectives of participants” (Creswell & Plano Clark, 2011, p. 7). The qualitative approach to gathering information focuses on describing a phenomenon in a deep comprehensive manner. In qualitative method, this involves interviews, open-ended questions, or focus groups. Typically, a qualitative study is made up of a small number of participants due to the fact that qualitative studies tend to take more time. Because of the investment in this type of research and the relatively few number of participants, findings from qualitative research cannot be generalized to the whole population. However, such research serves as a spring board for larger studies and deeper understanding that can inform theory, practice, and specific situations (Rhodes, …show more content…
This approach to research uses data from instruments such as surveys to understand specific groups. The data from the surveys can be used to make inferences about patterns or behaviors that might occur or factors (variables) that influence outcomes (Rhodes, 2014). One of the benefits of quantitative research is that it enables the researcher to make generalizations about larger groups. Using survey methods across a large group of individuals enables generalization. For some, this is why quantitative is considered to be a stronger method of research (Muijs, 2011).
Of course, there are also some limitations to quantitative research. Though proponents of quantitative research claim that most experiences can be quantitatively studied, there is sometimes difficulty in recognizing new and untouched phenomena. Additionally, depending on the research design, the results may not be valid without a control group. Finally, purely quantitative research misses the depth and complexity of the human element found in qualitative

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