Qualitative and quantitative research methods

Please respond to the peer discussion

Peer Discussion 1

The purpose of this week’s discussion board is to briefly describe qualitative and quantitative research methods along with speaking to their strengths and weaknesses. Also, to be explored will be this weeks reading assignment “The Social Construction of Illness” and a determination will be made as to its research methodology. Finally, a comparison will be made between the above-mentioned article and video article that was created for a New York based news agency. The comparison made will be to determine any observable relations in their social construction of reality.

Starting with a description of what qualitative and quantitative research methods are and entail. Qualitative research generally speaks to finding answers to how and why people react or behave in the manner that they do (Newman, 2017). This method of research usually involves language, questionnaires, pictures and observations made by the researchers of the subject matters’ reaction or response. This manner of research often proves its self to be most useful when researchers are trying to create an understanding of a particular behavior. Quantitative research is more mathematical in its approach to answering questions. Generally speaking this research method may also use surveys and observations to collect data however the collected information is usually summarized in a percentile or statistical manner (Newman,2017). This numerical information is presented in a manner that helps researchers make determinations of the question at hand.

While the approach to which method of research should be used to determine answers to a question remain it may be dependent on the question its self, this author feels that people generally will do their studies in the manner that they are most comfortable doing. Some researchers may be more people orientated and gravitate to qualitative research and others more mathematical and analytical and favor a quantitative approach. With this as an understanding both methods of study have benefits and consequences. A benefit to the qualitative method allows researchers often direct interaction with people or subjects and often real-time information can be gathered as well as observable information that can be analyzed later. A con of this style of research is that it is dependent on the honest reaction and information of the people participating in the study. Inaccurate information given to researchers may make a study inconclusive. Also, in this format of research it is very important for the researcher themselves to remain free of bias, as this can sometimes be detected and inadvertently affect a subject’s response (Newman,2017). A benefit to the quantitative research method is that it to often has direct as well as indirect contact with people however the information gathered is often put into a statistical format (Newman,2017). This information presented in mathematical terms usually gives a clear-cut answer to the question at hand. The quantitative method also has its down side in that it to is sometimes limited by the honesty of the people involved and any particular bias’s the researchers may have. Generally speaking if a quantitative study is performed from information gathered from honest willing participants and an unbiased research team the results are often fairly conclusive.

One of the articles that will be explored in this discussion is “The Social Construction of Illness” (Conrad, Barker,2010). This article speaks to how individuals construct and manage their illnesses along with societies interpretation and reaction to an illness. The methodology for this study is qualitative in nature. The start of this research is based on symbolic interactionism which focuses on identifying societal patterns and the consequences they provide (Newman,2017). Generally speaking the question at hand is how people and society react to individuals with illnesses. Symbolic interactionism was used in the development of “Social Constructionism” which in turn developed the frame work for the research approach (Conrad, Barker,2010). The point of the article and research is to investigate how something becomes an illness or a disease and the societal reaction that occurs. The article raises the question of people’s reactions to illness and the medical societies interpretation and influences that may reinforce a reaction. One important point I found made in this article was” how an illness or problem is defined affects how society responds to that problem” (Conrad, Barker,2010). While this statement may seem like common sense it really is in my opinion how we as a society react to illness.

The final discussion in this paper will be to speak to the commonalities observed if any between the article “Social Construction of Illness” and the news video “Revisiting the Crack Babies Epidemic That Was Not”. More specifically do they share a social construction of reality? While the two articles in question have different subject matters, they also have a few similarities in common. While the “Social Construction of Illness” article was researched based and seeked to find answers to a societal response to illness the news video was researched by re-examining earlier findings. Both presentations spoke to their own view points and social constructions of reality. The research article spoke to individuals experience with illness and how society reacted to their illness and the news video spoke to how society will have to deal with an epidemic of drug affected children. Both of these points of view on different subjects are a construction of reality. They are the collective results of how we as a society feel we should approach and deal with such issues. While the research article concluded with the need for further research the news video clearly showed that earlier evidence obtained on crack babies just wasn’t true. The subject matter in the news video was just to limited in information to be conclusive. I feel that this subject had a “shock” value to it and that is why the information was presented in the manner that it was presented.


Newman, D. M. (2017). Sociology : exploring the architecture of everyday life. Los Angeles: SAGE, [2017]. Retrieved from https://proxy.library.ohio.edu/login?url=https://s…

Peter Conrad, & Kristin K. Barker. (2010). The Social Construction of Illness: Key Insights and Policy Implications. Journal of Health and Social Behavior, 51, S67. Retrieved from https://proxy.library.ohio.edu/login?url=https://s…