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Research Methods, Quantitative and Qualitative Data Essay

Introduction
The study of Research Methods has become both a more important and significant part of sport in recent years and there has been a rapid growth in interest in the theoretical side of Sport and Exercise. In this assignment I will be talking about the key issues in Research Methods for Sport and Exercise Sciences and focusing on two aspects in particular – Qualitative and Quantitative research. I will be giving examples and opinions of these methods and pointing out advantages and disadvantages backed up by references. Finally I will conclude, comparing the two and giving my opinion on which method of research is more superior. Task 1:

Description of Quantitative Research.
“Quantitative research involves either trying to discover a relationship or testing a hypothesis and is generally deductive research (this means that a scientist would start at a hypothesis and then begin observations to prove it). It is designed to establish differences, relationships or causality.” This type of research is both formal, factual and a systematic process in which numerical data is used to obtain information and is not influenced by emotions or personal prejudices. I feel this can also be described as using data and statistics to form an opinion. In line with the scenario outlined in this assignment, we know that research is a collection and analysis of data. An Example of Quantitative Research I am including in this report is that number of training sessions can or cannot determine an athlete’s performance.

An example of where this is evident is when detraining the aerobic system in a runner, the participants level of VO2max (the maximal oxygen uptake or the maximum volume of oxygen that can be utilized) decreases. Recent studies show that there is little reduction in VO2max for the first ten days following inactivity in high performance athletes. It is cautiously mentioned that all of these guidelines assume the runner is a high performer, training consistently across a 4 – 6 month period of time. Beginner runners will lose fitness at a slightly faster rate as they have a smaller base of fitness. After two weeks of not running, studies prove that runners VO2max decreases by 6%. After 9 weeks VO2max drops by 19% and after 11 weeks of no running, studies show that VO2 max of an athlete falls by 25.7% from peak physical fitness. These statistics were obtained using gaseous analysis where an athlete would be monitored on the development of their aerobic endurance and to find an estimate of their VO2max. This type of quantitative research allows us to asses a runner’s fitness with numerical data at the end and is therefore factual and not opinion formulated.

Advantages of Quantitative Research
I believe an advantageous aspect of quantitative research is that it is based on facts and is therefore indisputable. Such like ‘the minimum weight for a flat jockey is 50.8kg’. Similarly a jump jockey needs to be a weight of 63.5kg, another example of a factual, quantitative statistic. Another reason why quantitative research is beneficial in Sport and Exercise Science is that it allows an approach which cannot be determined or interpreted, by opinions or feelings, it is simply factual…’data talks’. Other positive factors are that it can generalise a research finding meaning differences are not considered, also the research conducts environment and situation and data analysis is less time consuming. Disadvantages of Quantitative Research

A disadvantage in my opinion regarding this method of research is that it is too data driven and doesn’t account for emotion and the one emotion in particular that I feel can determine a stat or piece of numerical data and that is passion! It also overlooks factors such as, motivation, others understanding, emotion, also knowledge produce may be too abstract or influenced by environment or situation. Finally a significant point is that data analysis error may occur and give an inaccurate, unreliable or invalid conclusion

Description of Qualitative Research
“Quantitative Research is a subjective form of research that tries to explain differences, relationships or causality using non numerical data such as words” This type of research is based on personal opinion and experience, its aim is to explain differences, links, or something being caused and is a more social form of research, using techniques such as interviews, therefore concluding with non-numerical findings. Example of Qualitative Research

I think that qualitative research is useful for discovering many things, including a commonly asked question – Why do people participate in sport? When it comes to sport participation, interviewing is the best technique to gather information. The interview allows the researcher to probe into the reasons why people participate and enjoy some sports and not others.

An example to demonstrate this is that an interview with Spanish number 1 Rafael Nadal allowed a researcher to find out why Nadal decided to start playing tennis at such a young age. He quoted “I chose tennis because it was introduced to me by my uncle Toni, and from the first time I held a racket I knew that I needed nothing else” it is interviews with people like this whose words allow us to realise the emotions behind his choice of sport and looks at another aspect away from his stats. we now know that his success is party behavioural and that his passion and motivation is what drives his capabilities. This has led him to a very successful career. Advantages of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research is very useful for in depth study, meaning a researcher can go into further detail about an athlete or topic, it is also useful for describing complex phenomena. The data collected is usually conducted in a natural setting, away from a lab so results aren’t too data driven and are more in the words of the participant. Disadvantages of Qualitative Research

Despite many positives, qualitative research is very specific to the person being studied or observed. It also has lower credibility as it is not factual and results could be easily influenced or even biased, due to premeditated answers

Bibliography
www.moodle.hartpury.ac.uk
www.skysports.com
www.theguardian.com
www.sportsblog.com
www.bbcsport.com


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