So as to collect and analyze data, researchers can conduct either a qualitative research or a quantitative research. The research on effects of computer interaction on teenagers was chosen to be a qualitative research, because it is a system of enquiry that seeks to show a largely narrative and holistic descriptions for the researcher to understand better concerning this given social phenomenon. According to Punch (2005), a qualitative research is an appropriate way of gathering first hand information since it is conducted within natural settings with the use of interviews, documents reviews, and observations.
In quantitative research, researchers do not physically interact with the respondents as is the case with qualitative analysis, and therefore they don't gather first hand information which is the most reliable type of information. According to Maxwell (2005), the roles of a researcher in a qualitative research depend on the characteristics of qualitative research, which include naturalistic inquiry, holistic perspective, inductive analysis, qualitative data, personal contact and insight, unique case orientation, dynamic systems, empathetic neutrality, context sensitivity, subjectivity and design flexibility.
A qualitative research employs inquiry orientation which emphasizes on the holistic handling of phenomena. A qualitative research was developed on how computer interaction negatively affects teenagers socially. The researcher visited the place of research earlier to obtain the background information regarding the research topic. The target population was fifty-two high school students who were from 15 to 17 years of age inclusive, thus representing teenage population. The researcher employed naturalistic inquiry because the exercise is meant to examine situations in the real-world with participants remaining undisturbed (Ryan, 2007). While in quantitative research researchers employ random sampling in gathering data, qualitative researcher use criterion-based sampling or purposeful sampling to collect the first hand data from the field.
The purposeful sampling is used to gather samples whose characteristics are relevant to research questions (Nastasi & Schensul, 2005). Sampling refers to the selection of unit, settings, and individuals to be studied. Homogeneous sampling strategy was used because the research was conducted on a population constituting exclusively boys. This type of sampling strategy simplifies analysis, reduces variation, and facilitates interviewing of groups. The sample size of fifty-two students was large such that it allowed for the identification of consistence in the findings hence valid results. Large sample sizes do not give room for biases to arise (Ritchie & Lewis, 2003).
It was found that most of the students were involved in chatting with friends over the Facebook site. Students were found to spend most of their free time logged in to Facebook. The academic performance of the students was low as compared to the other students who did not so much interact with computers. An inductive analysis was also used in which the researcher was involved physically to unfolding data, in order to discover the hidden interrelationships and dimensions as well as examining the open questions (Ryan, 2007). As the students were interviewed, it was found that, they wanted to make use of the introduced broadband.