ACSPRI Conferences, ACSPRI Social Science Methodology Conference 2010

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The quantitative-qualitative debate: subjectivity in the so called 'objective research' in nursing

Mohammad A. Al-Motlaq, Ysanne Chapman

Building: Holme Building
Room: Sutherland Room
Date: 2010-12-03 11:00 AM – 12:30 PM
Last modified: 2010-11-23


Consumers of research place huge emphasis on the validity and reliability of the results which are mainly affected by the level of objectivity in the research process. Debates still exist between supporters of different paradigms as they disagree on which methodology is more appropriate. While Positivists believe that reality is fixed and can be uncovered objectively, Postpositivists believe it is imperfectly apprehendable and never perfect. Quantitative paradigm supporters believe it is objective and capable of describing reality as it really is, and qualitative researchers argue that it is subjective and reality is subject to falsification hence assume the existence of multiple realities. The aims of this presentation are to: update on the credibility between quantitative and qualitative paradigms by exploring the issues of subjectivity and objectivity in its methodologies, provide evidence from the nursing literature on the subjective decisions quantitative researchers take in their “objective studies”, and discuss their effect on the findings credibility.