Educational Research Journal



The Role of Quantification in Qualitative Research in Education

1993.第8卷(Vol. 8).pp. 19–27
 

The Role of Quantification in Qualitative Research in Education

Peter Tim-Kui TAM(譚添鉅)

Abstract

The term "qualitative research" is used by researchers with different understanding and is not representing one single approach, it stands for a variety of methods including ethnography, educational connoisseurship and criticism, naturalistic inquiry, vignette analysis, case study, analysis of ecological specimen records, and so on. In this paper, different types of qualitative research are classified on the basis of epistemologies and approaches. It is argued that some inquiries are truly qualitative, but some are not. Furthermore, it is also argued that, at the level of epistemologies, one should combine interpretivism and positivism in looking at educational problems. At the level of procedures, quantifying qualitative information can make data analysis more efficient and manageable. Modern-day ethnographers should also be well-trained in certain areas in quantitative methods, particularly in research designs and non-parametric statistics. However, it is important to observe that in the process of quantification, the interpretive stance and the subjective elements of the qualitative information are not distorted nor eliminated. Otherwise, the qualitative inquiry will be "engulfed" by the quantitative paradigm.

摘要

「質性研究」並不是代表一個單一研究方法的名稱,而是代表一組各類型研究方法的名字,例如:民族誌,教育鑑識及評論,自然式探究方法,片段分析法,個案研究,生態樣本記錄及分析法等等。本文試從知識論及方法論去歸納及解釋各類型質性研究的特徵,並指出質性研究應有演繹主義色彩,而量性研究則應有實證主義意味。本文亦旨出,從知識論角度來看,演繹主義及實證主義可以兼容,並可使觀察事物更清楚。若從方法論來看,質性研究與量性研究亦可以互取所長。現今的趨勢是,質性研究員也需要接受量性分析法的訓練,尤其是有關研究設計與非參數統計的知識。但需要注意,當我們以量化分析應用於質性資料時,不要硬性地把質性資料的主觀成份及演繹意味切除,否則,質性研究將會失去其應有之特徵,同時亦會被量性研究所「吞併」。