Before you begin this assignment, make sure that you read Chapter 1, paying special attention to the section titled, “Mode of Enquiry Perspective.”
You are the assistant fire chief of a fire department in a growing suburban metropolitan area. The department currently has four stations and 57 full-time employees. Because of the growth of the area, an additional fire station must be built. The city manager has tasked the fire chief with conducting research to determine the best place to build the new fire station and how to staff new fire apparatus once it opens. The fire chief, in turn, is delegating some of the responsibility of completing the initial research to you.
Using knowledge that you have gained from this unit, compare and contrast the three approaches to research (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods), and provide an overview to the fire chief about how she can best approach addressing the city manager’s request.
Be sure to address the following topics in your essay.
- Explain the basic premise of each of the approaches.
- Explain how the three approaches are similar.
- Explain how the three approaches differ.
- Explain when you would use one approach over the other.
- Do you think one approach is better than the others?
- Justify your recommendation to the fire chief on which approach to research would be most appropriate to meet the city manager’s request.
Your essay must be at least two full (but not more than five) pages in length, not including the required title and reference pages. It must also contain at least two sources in addition to your textbook. Remember to review the rubric before you begin your essay.
Adhere to APA Style when constructing this assignment, including in-text citations and references for all sources that are used. Please note that no abstract is needed.
Comparison of the Common Research Approaches
Research is the process of obtaining answers to critical professional questions. It can also be
defined as a way of thinking to critically examine a situation with the view to raise sufficient
evidence to help in the formulation of policies, guidelines, and instituting certain changes within
one’s profession. (Baxter, 2010) It involves the question of “what you do”, and the possibility of
making an improvement to the already existing situation. Its, therefore, the systematic scrutiny of
the observations made to help in the betterment of service. (Ibid) The type of research to be
carried out is often determined by the objectives of the study (the problem questions). In this
paper, three research three approaches (quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods) are
compared and contrasted with the aim of settling for the best approach in the search for a
location to set up a new fire station, and fire apparatus after it is erected.
All three approaches have various distinct characteristics, in the quantitative research
approach, the collection of data is structurally approached. The research questions and
objectives are predetermined by the researcher prior to the actual field data collection process. In
this type of research, there is rigidity in all aspects of the process. The results under this
approach are often based on large sample sizes and the study can be replicated or can be redone. It
is key in the generation of theories and models since it involves sample measurements and
experiments to quantify variations. Of all the types of research quantitative is the most
appropriate approach when the determination of an extent or magnitude of a particular problem or
issue is involved (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004)
In qualitative approach, on the other hand, involves solely a description of the situation.
In this type, there is some flexibility in the aspects of the processes involved. The data collection
approach is unstructured, and it predominantly deals with the nature of the problem majoring on
the variations, and the diversity in a given phenomenon (Apuke, 2017). The data collected in this
approach are measured in nominal or ordinal scales, and analysis is done to obtain variations. It
is therefore the best approach when the required research answer involves the opinion of people
or a description of the observed situation. (Silverman, 2020)
The mixed-method approach is where both the qualitative and quantitative data analysis
processes are incorporated towards the solution of a particular research problem. Data collected
under this method cuts across both the open and closed-ended in the aim to get a response to
research questions. The procedures for the quantitative and qualitative methods are carried out
Rigorously and in a persuasive manner respectively (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004).
In the three approaches, there are similarities that are used in them all. Raw data, as well
as the analysis of the data collected, is involved in all of them. Despite the difference in the types
of data collected, all the approaches are aimed at the achievement of the research questions and
for the solution of a given problem. Although quantitative research involves figures, all the
methods have similar use of samples, design, and questions to achieve observations for analysis.
Consequently, these research methods have differences. In the quantitative method, the approach
to inquiry is Structured, rigid, and predetermined methodology, while in the qualitative approach
the methodology is open, flexible, and unstructured. Another outstanding difference is the
purpose of the investigation. Quantitative research seeks to quantify the extent of variation in a
situation whereas the qualitative approach is aimed to describe the variation in a phenomenon.
Analysis of data also shows a remarkable difference between the two research approaches. In
quantitative methods, the data collected is subjected to various statistical procedures such as
cross-tabulations, frequency distribution among others to Annalise the data collected. In
the qualitative method, on the other hand, the narratives, and the observation are subjected to
qualitative measurement scales. (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2015)
When carrying out research the choice of the best approach between qualitative and
quantitative will be determined by the aim of the research itself. When a researcher aims at
confirming or testing a theory then quantitative research will be the best option. The qualitative
method will be suitable when the aim of the research is to clearly understand a given concept in a
phenomenon. Apart from the aim, another determinant of the best research approach to use is
time and resources availability. A lot of time and resources are required in quantitative methods
than in qualitative research. The mixed-method can also be used in a situation where the
understanding of similarities and differences on quantitative results and the qualitative findings
of a problem is required.
These approaches have various strengths, and weaknesses. There is no superior method
than the rest since the choice and preference of one is made based on the aim of the research
problem. (Hong, Gonzalez‐Reyes,& Pluye 2018). For more affirmation, it is the purpose of
the study, the type of data required, and to some degree area of specialization and subject of study
will determine the preferred method.
In conclusion, in the research, for the best location to erect a new fire station, I would
recommend the use of qualitative research approach this is because of all the three approaches it
is the best method that will give the opinions of the members of the public and even the
organization itself. Moreover, the qualitative method gives clarity in the description of the situation
which is a key in the location of any given firm.
Apuke, O. D. (2017). Quantitative research methods: A synopsis approach. Kuwait Chapter of
Arabian Journal of Business and Management Review, 33(5471), 1-8.
Blaxter, L. (2010). How to research. McGraw-Hill Education (UK).
Hong, Q. N., Gonzalez‐Reyes, A., & Pluye, P. (2018). Improving the usefulness of a tool for
appraising the quality of qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods studies, the Mixed Methods
Appraisal Tool (MMAT). Journal of evaluation in clinical practice, 24(3), 459-467.
Johnson, R. B., & Onwuegbuzie, A. J. (2004). Mixed methods research: A research paradigm
whose time has come. Educational researcher, 33(7), 14-26.
McCusker, K., & Gunaydin, S. (2015). Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed
methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), 537-542.
Silverman, D. (Ed.). (2020). Qualitative research. Sage Publications Limited.