1. Does computer interaction negatively affect most teenagers socially and academically?
A combination of qualitative and quantitative research approaches were used to collect and analyze data about the research topic. Qualitative research is the system of enquiry that attempts to establish a largely narrative and holistic descriptions to enable the researcher comprehensively understand about the social phenomenon in question (Maxwell, 2005). Quantitative research can be defined as the orderly experimental investigation of phenomena and quantitative properties and how they are related (Creswell, 2003). Mixed methods research can be defined as a style of research that employs procedures for carrying out research that are usually applied in both qualitative and quantitative studies (G. & D., 2006). According toJohnson & Onwuegbuzie (2004), both qualitative research approaches and quantitative research approaches should be used in studying a given social phenomenon, and integrated at some point after the research is through.
Description of the study
The combination of both qualitative and quantitative research targeted a population of fifty-two high school students, whose ages range between 15 to 17 years, thus representing teenage population. The researcher employs a sequential inquiry strategy in course of this study to collect data. She first uses qualitative methods, followed by the quantitative methods. After the qualitative research in the school environment, the researcher employed qualitative research methods by gathering the secondary study materials relevant to the research area so as interpret the qualitative findings (Punch, 2005). These two traditional research approaches have got their own weaknesses, and therefore should be integrated to eliminate the weaknesses.
Weaknesses of qualitative and quantitative research approaches
It has been found that each of the two research approaches must have it own weaknesses and strengths. The weaknesses of one tend to be solved by the strengths of the other. Therefore, the two research approaches should be integrated for the researcher to obtain the most accurate results. The following are weaknesses of qualitative research approach.
The resultant knowledge after a qualitative research may not generalize to other setting or other people because relatively few individuals are involved in the research study as compared to quantitative research. With a qualitative research, it is unmanageable to arrive at quantitative predictions, but with quantitative research, quantitative predictions are made easily. Unlike with quantitative research, testing of theories and hypotheses with qualitative research is more difficult. As compared to quantitative research, a qualitative research takes more time in due course of collecting data. The results in a qualitative research are more easily determined by the personal biases of the researcher, which is not the case with a quantitative research that does not involve active interaction of the researcher with the subjects of research. Weaknesses of quantitative research include:
As compared to a qualitative research where the researcher physically interacts with the study subjects, the researcher in quantitative research may collect inaccurate data on phenomena under study because of focusing on hypothesis or theory testing rather than hypothesis or theory generalization. The resultant knowledge after quantitative research is generally too general and abstract as compared to the case with qualitative research, and this knowledge cannot be directly applied to specific local contexts, situations, and individuals.
Elimination of weaknesses
Most of the identified weaknesses in both qualitative and quantitative research approaches can be eliminated by integrating the two through an approach called mixed method approach. The qualities of qualitative research approach are antagonistic to the qualities of quantitative research approach, such that when they are used together a more sound research results. The researcher used the sequential inquiry strategy to collect and analyze data in due course of the study on how computer interaction negatively affects teenagers socially and academically. In this type of mixed method approach, qualitative research was followed by quantitative research. This was to make sure that the data on the social phenomenon could be comprehensively understood as the quantitative research approach interprets the qualitative findings which are obtained from a small population by making generalization.
Weaknesses of sequential inquiry strategy
The use of both qualitative and quantitative research strategies requires the researcher to spend lots of money and time, during data collection and analysis. The researcher finds mixed methods more difficulty because she must learn about the multiple approaches and methods as well as understand on how to mix them in the most appropriate way. According to methodological purists, a researcher should always concentrate within either a quantitative or a qualitative paradigm.