Qualitative Research   
David Streifling

 


Impact of 1000 Missionary Movement Training Program on the Spirituality of the Trainees  
Morris Chit & John Wesley Taylor V

The Spiritual Experience of Adventist Students:
The Case of Newbold College 

Julian Melgosa

In Cathy's Classroom: Creating Community
in a Multi-ethnic Classroom   

Frederick Oberholster

Ending up Ahead: The Case Study of a Highly Able
Hispanic Student
John Wesley Taylor V



The New Positioning
Jack Trout & Steve Rivkin
Reviewed by Rose O. Ejercitado

The Leadership Wisdom of Jesus
Charles C. Manz
Reviewed by Salvador T. Molina




    

Qualitative Research


       It is generally agreed that the hallmark of a quality educational institution is its record of research.  Indeed, since the time of the ancient Greek philosophers – Socrates, Plato, Aristotle, and others – the human family has been concerned with obtaining reliable answers to a seemingly endless variety of questions.  Although the answers to the basic issues of metaphysics, epistemology, and axiology transcend and therefore defy scientific investigation, beyond these questions there does exist a host of other questions –  questions which largely concern the affairs and interests of every day life and whose answers are more subject to observation – questions that can be researched and answered with varying degrees of confidence, depending largely upon the design and methodology of the research conducted.  This is the field of scientific and academic research.

      The principles of the "scientific method" when applied to academic questions produce two basic research paradigms – quantitative and qualitative.  To the uninitiated eye, because of its more subjective nature, the latter does not really appear to be research in the true sense.  And even in academic circles to-day there are those who believe that while quantitative research can be considered "scientific," "quantifiable," and therefore "objective," qualitative research is not really research at all.  But, we take the position that while qualitative research  by its very nature may not be readily quantifiable, it can be just as descriptive, equally methodological and valid, and therefore just as scientific as quantitative research.

      Quantitative research does tend to rely upon that branch of mathematics which we call statistics, and one cannot easily argue with numbers per se.  However, one could argue with the processes and methodologies used in structuring the problems for which statistics seeks answers.  Indeed, these processes  just as descriptive and methodologies may be just as subjective as is qualitative research.

      In actuality, there are problems which lend themselves better to quantitative/ statistical research, and others which lend themselves better to qualitative research.  For example, one of my colleagues has queried regarding an evening spent relaxing with friends; one could tell much about the evening by numbers – number of hours of time, the number of persons involved, the variety and quantities of various foods and drinks consumed, possibly the quantity of electricity consumed, and possibly some numeric analysis of the conversation itself.  But, can one really tell what the evening was like from the numbers alone, or might there be a need to describe the mood, the feelings, the flavours, the more subjective reality of the evening?  Indeed, just such is the function of qualitative research!

      Just as the two arms of a well-trained boxer must work together, so in an academic setting must the two paradigms of research.  Quantitative research seeks to form a broadly-based answer to its question derived from the observation of many many subjects, while qualitative research seeks to form an in-depth answer to its question based upon the prolonged observation of a single or few subjects.  The descriptors "scientific" and "research" belong to both.  And each research paradigm raises questions that are best answered by the other.

      And so in this issue, the AIIAS School of Graduate Studies is pleased to present for its readership four examples of good qualitative research.

 

David Streifling, PhD
Editor, Info Journal
Adventist International Institute of Advanced Studies
Silang, Cavite , Philippines