In 2016 I undertook a Graduate Certificate in Social Change and Development at the University of Newcastle. One of my last assignments was to write an essay defending qualitative research to people who are unfamiliar with it.
While I appreciate the reality of the educational system in asking us to do this, I realised my thoughts can be summed up in much less space than an essay:
- A good researcher will use any methodology that is appropriate.
- Of course, questions of inductive vs deductive will influence this, but I view them (and other variables) as appropriate filters, rather than guiding ideals.
What kind of ended up bugging me about this topic as I wrote is was the “defending” qualitative research.
My thoughts ran in a pattern a bit like this: “are you telling me that a professional researcher can’t research enough to know that there are other reliable methods of research?”
I know this may be over simplistic as it ignores academic disciplinary norms (let alone my own bias towards qualitative research) but even so, at the heart of a good researcher should be inquiry, not methodology.
How do you feel about “defending” qualitative research?