Researches conducted have shown that high schools female students continue to be poorly represented in sport as participants, coaches, advisers, and even as team administrators; they are seldom seen in their capacity as managers of different sporting codes. There is, therefore, need for further research to help find out the psychosocial factors that limit the participation of female students in sports. This paper discusses some of the special issues associated with qualitative and quantitative research.
Key words: qualitative, quantitative, research, sports, female
Special Issues Associated with Writing in Qualitative and Quantitative Research
There exist fundamental and procedural distinctions between qualitative and quantitative researches. Quantitative research employs major data which are absolute like numerical data and are examined in a way that is never biased. The principal objective is to remain neutral to the data presented in the research report. This method aims at dividing elements into smaller groups in order to statistically analyze and model them. In addition, it is aimed at removing factors which are likely to distract researchers from the principal purpose of the study. In the majority of cases, the outcome of the quantitative research is a compilation of particular information, which is subject to various statistical analysis processes in order to yield an unbiased outcome. On the other hand, qualitative research is a subjective research where researchers may introduce their personal bias as a strategy to form a complete picture. It is mostly applicable in researches where researchers are not clear about the exact information being studied. Researchers have the capacity to select which data to use as well as discard those that are deemed unnecessary to the objectives and missions of the research. The main difference between these two types of research is as follows: qualitative research is majorly applicable in cases where researchers know what they are looking for directly from the start of the research process, while quantitative research focuses on the study whose aims becomes clear as time passes (Cho-Yee & Zuyi Du, 2000).
However, one must have specific research evidences to be able to make a choice between the two research approaches. Whether a researcher settles on the qualitative or quantitative research, a number of conditions must be fulfilled as a way of understanding the research process. In addition, it ensures that such a research is scientifically sound. Research reports should be used as important tools of communicating research findings carried out for the purposes of providing solutions to the problem under the study. A research report, irrespective of the chosen approach, must possess certain characteristics if it is going to pass the scientific merit test. For example, it is recommended that, for any kind of information to be presented in the research process, it has to be focused, relevant, and objective. This will ensure that it derives the anticipated results. This can be achieved by presenting the available information in the report applying different tools such as pictures, graphs, and charts. The ultimate purpose is to formulate proper strategies for solving the problem at hand (Marlow, 2010).
Moreover, such techniques are necessary for any research report to match its pre-defined objectives and goals. This will help in the development of a flow of ideas. Scientific merit requires that the objectives and goals are followed to the latter to avoid unnecessary information being included in the report. In addition, scientific merit can also be achieved by summarizing the ideas in the research report (Cho-Yee & Zuyi Du, 2000). On the other hand, the executive summary helps people who want to use the findings in the report to peruse through the report by reading the summary of the work. It must, therefore, capture and highlight the main points presented in the report. A good report outlines the advantages that are going to be realized if the recommendations are implemented as well as evaluates the associated costs of implementing those recommendations. Moreover, it should be well structured in terms of methodologies so as to establish the credibility of the information presented therein. Additionally, for a report to be scientifically sound, it should show the ability to identify the shortcomings of the research process. This may include assessing those factors that may compromise the preciousness of information in a report. In cases where a report deals with future trends, it must provide prediction scales as a way of ensuring that the accuracy of forecasts is judged effectively.
Evidence has shown that high schools female students tend to participate less in sports when compared with their male counterparts. A number of researches have been conducted to determine and come up with the factors that contribute to the widespread cases of female students failing to take part in sports activities (Shaw, Kleiber, & Caldwell, 1995). In most cases, particular psychosocial factors have been put on the forefront as the main cause of females shunning sports. These factors can be understood through a proper research that employs a well-designed and calculated approach. Both qualitative and quantitative approaches could contribute to the understanding of this phenomenon. In analyzing the psychosocial factors that influence the participation of female students in sports, researchers will have to decide on whether they are going to apply a qualitative or quantitative approach. Prior knowledge of the possible psychosocial factors will go a long way in helping researchers decide on the kind of research to undertake. Some of the already identified psychosocial factors that contribute to the participation or not participation of girls in sports include family support, career opportunities, and stereotypes about female sport participation, physiological nature of females, self-esteem, and ability (Rowley & Graham, 1999). Other relevant psychosocial factors include motivation, competition, need for recognition, coaching preferences, and the level of recognition females get over their male counterparts. A close analysis of these factors reveals that a qualitative research will be the most suitable approach in understanding how the highlighted psychological factors can influence the level of girls participation in sports, especially in cases where the girls under research are high school students.