THE METHODOLOGICAL CRITIQUE OF QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
There is a growing amount of research on the interest of paternal roles considering the traditional norms are side-lined (McMunn et al., 2015). As previously suggested the involvement of a father in the life of a child takes the three forms engagement, accessibility, and responsibility. The involvement of fathers has been greatly associated with caretaking, play, and to an extent leisure, the father can also be termed as involved in the life of a child by making himself available while at the same time accepting responsibilities and providing resources to ensure that the child is well taken care of. In the journal article by Gilligan, Manby, and Pickburn, it is clear that the study aimed at finding the level of the involvement of the male parents in the children services in the town. The research took a qualitative design considering this concept only relates to social science. For this assignment, the paper will look at the research methodology used in the study and critique the various issues that might arise with regards to the methodological approaches that have been used in the paper.
To begin with, the research took a qualitative approach. Which is too impressionistic and subjective (Bryman, 2014). This argument postulates that this research method is often based on the researchers’ unsystematic views about what is important and what is not important concerning the researcher’s beliefs. By contrast, the quantitative approaches, the problem formulation stage in the research tends to come out more explicitly. Additionally, replicating qualitative research is close to impossible considering the approach lacks standardized procedures to be followed. For instance, the researcher could personally be the core instruments of the collection of data and therefore what they observe or hear are all products of their predilections. Moreover, this research method is subject to problems related to generalization. Often the findings from the research cannot be used with reference to other settings (Bryman, 2014). For instance, the findings in the study; Fathers’ Involvement in Children’s Services: Exploring Local and National Issues in ‘Moorlandstown’ cannot be generalized in other regions considering there are variations in the people’s views and cultures.
Moreover, the qualitative approach to research lacks transparency (Bryman, 2014). Sometimes it might be difficult to establish what the researcher did and how he/she arrived at the conclusions and findings. For instance, the research methods are sometimes unclear about how the respondents were chosen. Also, the process of the analysis of the qualitative data is rather unclear as compared to the quantitative approaches. This phenomenon raises the question of the legitimacy and honesty of the findings of the research. In sum, the research approach that the study adopted is riddled with numerous demerits which often tends to invalidate the findings of the research thereby opening space for questioning and criticism, moreover, the approach suffers from generalization issues, subjectivity, difficulty in the replication of research to other areas or even locations.
The research used non-probability purposive sampling technique (Gilligan et al., 2012). This sampling technique does not seek the participants of the research randomly, as it mainly focuses on a sample population that is relevant to the research. The critics of the sample sometimes refer to this approach as Judgmental sampling due to the fact that the sampling technique is open to bias and error. As in the study, it is clear that the researcher finds it difficult to defend their choices of participants. Additionally, this sampling technique limits the representativeness to the entire population. This, in turn, affects the outcomes of the research making the validity and the reliability of the information derived from the research doubtable and to an extend less relevant to the readers of the research as they may notice gaps in the study.
Additionally, the study used focus group interviews in collecting data. The technique has been greatly used in qualitative research involving many groups of individuals (Dilshad & Latif, 2013) however; this technique is riddled with a myriad of shortcomings. To begin with, considering the fact that the technique is more of a social forum, the participants may deviate from the objectives of discussion and start addressing other private and personal issues. This, in turn, consumes the time of the researcher as nothing serious can continue with the distractions from the participants. Moreover, a large number of respondents at ago might be difficult to control and manage thereby consuming much of the time that is allocated to the discussions and elongating the time of the study while at the same time stretching the economic resources that have been allocated to the endeavor.
The focus group discussions can also limit the participation of respondents who find it difficult to express themselves in public, this affects the outcome of the discussion to a larger extent as there will be gaps in the data collected from the sample population that was picked for the study. Moreover, the interactive nature of the technique can coerce the respondents to agree with an opinion that is held by the majority of the population even if they do not agree with the opinion. Considering that the study used non-probabilistic purposive sampling technique, the outcomes of the discussion might not be representative of the entire population as well as the opinions held by the fathers in Mooreland. Lastly, the analysis of the information from the discussion can be very challenging to the researcher as no standard or measure has been developed to be used in the analysis of this kind of information.
Lastly, the research ignores to discuss how the data collected was analyzed and how the conclusions were arrived at. Arriving at conclusions without a clear method of data analysis is likely to suggest that the so-called “findings” and “conclusions” are nothing short of the opinions of the researchers who conducted the study. As suggested by Bryman, (2014) the analysis of the data from a study is the most important aspect of the research as it clears doubts that are held by the readers of the research.
In conclusion, the study conducted in Mooreland town took a qualitative approach. The researchers choose this approach considering the nature of the research problem they were trying to evaluate. However, this approach in research is considered subjective and impressionistic (Bryman, 2014). It is therefore affected by the values and opinions of the researcher. Moreover, there are no standardized procedures to be used in the evaluation of the study. The researchers went further to use purposive sampling technique that is considered more judgemental and lacks representativeness of the entire research population. The data collection approach that involved the use of discussion focus groups is also riddled with numerous limitations that could lead to the invalidation of research.
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