3 Rebuttals

IColleagues’ response1:
Quantitative research is used to analyze problems by generating numerical data that can be transformed into usable statistics. It can be used to quantify opinions, behaviors, attitudes, demographic differences, and many other defined variables within a larger sample population. While producing quantitative research, researchers may seek to measure and analyze data to formulate facts or uncover the meaning or reasoning behind various social phenomena. When conducting quantitative research, multiple modes of collecting data, such as online surveys, telephone interviews, online poles, systematic observations, mobile surveys, longitudinal studies, and many more. Qualitative is far more deductive than qualitative research due to the ability to quantify data, which some social scientists would argue makes it more scientific; however, it is much more of a systematic approach. It can be argued that it takes away from the natural process of research.

2.) I struggled with this response, so hopefully, it is not too off the wall. Qualitative research in regards to political figures could be further explored using quantitative data. For instance, Ive run across research by doctoral students that examine feelings towards presidential candidates, and interviews are examined. I feel like a more significant scale research tactic is more suitable for something of that nature.

Colleagues Response 2:
1) What are the characteristics of quantitative analysis that lend itself to the perception that it is “more scientific” than qualitative research?  To what extent do you agree with this perception?  Why?

The deductive nature of quantitative analysis allows us to test theories and present data in numerical form. This takes away some of the biases that may exist in self-reported data and experiences shared by participants in qualitative research as well as some of the possibilities of researcher biases tainting the results of studies and thus gives this form of research the illusion of being more scientific. In other words, the quantitative methods look for confirmation of causal factors and the extent of the correlated effects, given all the internal and external criteria of validity and reliability are met, and the presentation of numbers allows others to quickly reference the data without any if, ands, or buts. Regardless, this information is still not expected to be perfect but can be close to perfect by running tests to confirm an acceptable accuracy. I would say that neither quantitative nor qualitative are more scientific, as both have scientific approaches to improve the analysis of the data. Quantitative research’s use of statistics and numbers in presenting results does not equate to more scientific in my mind. When I think of a scientific approach, I think of strict outlines used in the process of collecting and analyzing data. Qualitative research still abides by the rules of informed consent, bracketing our biases to analyze data, and reporting the information in a non-biased manner. There are checkmarks to be made by each individual step of the process. 

2) Many journals prefer publications that are mixed methods, rather than purely qualitative, calling on the researcher to verify any claims made through the collection and analysis of qualitative data with the numbers.  There are many popular theories out there that, through quantitative scrutiny are demonstrably false, but they remain very popular political talking points.  Are there any such talking points that you would want to “run the numbers” on to determine the extent to which they are actually true?

I would like to run the numbers on data that is shared by pro-life supporters. I would like to know how many people believe that people do not become pregnant from rape or that adoption is an answer to an unwanted pregnancy. I am constantly seeing information being spread around that your body rejects pregnancy based on the action of rape, or that people need to give children up for adoption rather than have abortions. What I do not understand is where they get their information and why they insist on repeating information based on hearsay. I found some contradictive articles about percentages of pregnancy occurring from rape. However, there are articles that show that some rapists intend for their victims to become pregnant (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020). So, despite the statement that little to no people become pregnant from rape, I need to see proof. The suggestion of adoption does not seem viable either. With over 437,000 children in foster care as of 2018 (Child Welfare Information Gateway 2020), why are people suggesting that adoption is an alternative to abortion? This, of course, is a popular subject among politicians and their voting bases. I am not making a pro-abortion stance here. I think of my stance as being proactive, not reactive; education paired with available contraception would go a long way in preventing unwanted pregnancies. 

References:

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Violence Prevention: Understanding Pregnancy Resulting from Rape in the United States. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/understanding-RRP-inUS.html (Links to an external site.)

Child Welfare Information Gateway. 2020. Foster care statistics 2018. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Childrens Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf (Links to an external site.)

Initial Colleagues Response 3:

1.) Because quantitative analysis utilizes statistical methods when analyzing data, if the research is done correctly, objective conclusions can be drawn. This fact leads to the common perception that quantitative data is more scientific in nature when compared to qualitative research. In my opinion, this perception is valid, as using numerical data allows less room in misrepresenting or misinterpreting data. Quantitative research allows researchers to measure the relationship between variables and find potential correlation and causation, which results in objective findings. However, subjectivity can plague quantitative research as well. Researchers who use biased samples or numerical data to support preconceived notions can issue conclusions that seem scientific when they are not. All in all, quantitative methods are vital in truly scientific research. However, quantitative data being considered more scientific does not make it superior to qualitative methods, as they are complimentary and are both necessary in understanding social phenomena.

2.) In an era of fake news and alternative facts, it is challenging to watch news media when there is much polarization relating to what is truth. It is confusing when two opposing political figures use published statistics that prove their position on any given position, and occasionally they will be appealing from the same sets of data. Because of this, it can be a daunting task to determine what is true and what is false. Immigration is one political issue that consistently cycles in and out of relevance. President Trump suggested there is data that suggests immigrants crossing the southern border increases violent crime and sex and drug trafficking. Some news outlets emphasize horrific incidents that involve Americans and undocumented immigrants. However, it is hard to discern whether the incidents reported are isolated, or if such stories give validity to the idea that undocumented immigrants crossing the border increase negative social consequences. Mixed method research studies are invaluable to study social issues such as this, to educate the public, and formulate appropriate policy.

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