Strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research in social science studies
Keywords:qualitative research, constructivists, positivist paradigm, critical paradigm, interpretative paradigm
This study aimed at examining the strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research in social science studies. The study conducted a systematic literature review of 22 published journal articles to achieve the objective. The review revealed that the qualitative approach was flexible, offered in-depth and detailed information, allowed the use of multiple data collection methods and minimised the chance of having missing data. Moreover, the approach was found to integrate human touch, was cost-effective and was indeed the only option in some cases of research problems. On the other hand, the approach is prone to researchers’ subjectivity, involves complex data analysis, makes anonymity difficult and has limited scope in its generalizability. Similarly, the approach makes replication of findings challenging, and the findings may be influenced by the researcher’s bias. It is concluded, therefore, that researchers should take necessary precautions when using the approach to ensure that weaknesses of qualitative research do not bar them from achieving research objectives.
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