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HCS204 Research Skills Guide: Assessment Item 1

What are you being asked to do?

In this assessment you are being asked to write a report demonstrating your understanding of qualitative and quantitative research methods. There are 4 parts to this report:

  • Briefly outline your understanding of the qualitative and quantitative methods (with reference to the key features/key words used in qualitative and quantitative journal articles).
  • Discuss the strengths and limitations of each research method (qualitative and quantitative).
  • Find two journal articles (one qualitative and one quantitative) and do a 150-words annotated bibliography about each that describes WHY and HOW you knew it was quantitative/qualitative?
  • Use the example of each journal article to highlight how these different methods approach social issues.

Please note - the information here does not replace your Subject Outline. It is important to carefully read over and be familiar with all sections of the assessment details including task description, rationale and marking rubric.

Where should you start?

In this assignment you need to show your understanding of qualitative and quantitative research by:

  • Demonstrating you understand the ideas, concepts, key features and principles of the two research methods; and
  • Finding 2 research articles, critically evaluating them, and demonstrating you understand how different methods approach social issues

For this report you are expected to reference various sources to help inform your understanding of these two methods. Different sources of information can assist you with each part of your assignment.

Understanding qualitative and quantitative research methods
  • Books and ebooks are the best type of source for gaining an overview of each research method and are good resources to use in your assignment. They can be found using Primo Search.
  • SAGE Research Methods Online (SRMO) is an excellent database that contains information about research methods. 
  • Watch the video on the right for an introduction to quantitative and qualitative research.
  • Look for journal articles that refer to or discuss these research methods to use as examples in your discussion; this will help to demonstrate your understanding of the differences between these research methods. Use Primo SearchJournal Databases and Google Scholar to find these articles.

Critically evaluating articles, and demonstrating your understanding of how different research methods approach social issues
  • Take a look at this Charles Sturt Library guide that gives information on the purpose, and writing of, an annotated bibliography.
  • Look at your textbook to find information on different research methods and how they are used in your discipline. The reference lists at the end of your textbook chapters can lead you to more books and articles that discuss this.
  • Books and eBooks available through Primo Search will help you gain an overview of how different research methods are used in the field of social work and human services. Try searching in Primo with the search terms "research methods" AND ("social work" OR "human services") to get you started.

Finding specific types of research

In this task you are looking for research articles, one representing quantitative research and one representing qualitative research. Here are a few tips you can use when searching for your articles:

Quantitative Research

You can find quantitative articles by searching in Primo Search or our Library databases using methodology terms as keywords. Some examples of possible keywords could be data mining, survey, quantitative, statistical, or correlation. When searching for quantitative research on a social issue such as  homelessness, you could use the following search string:

  • Homelessness AND (quantitative OR statistic* OR correlation)

Qualitative Research

When searching for qualitative articles, you can once again include terms that describe the methods used to collect data, such as questionnaire, ethnographic, lived experience, qualitative, or focus group in your search, along with terms that indicate the group, setting, or health condition you are interested in. If we use homelessness as an example again, your search string could be:

  • Homelessness AND (lived experience OR qualitative OR "focus group")

Remember, these are just some of the many possibilities. You will need to try multiple combinations of keywords and search techniques throughout your research. The search tools used in these search strings, such as *, ( ), OR & AND are explained in depth on the Primo Search page of this guide!