Research Methods Paper
Social science research is a broad term which can be loosely defined as the act of searching for both scientific and oral material of a particular topic with the specific intent of examining particular aspect in the society, bringing about understanding and new knowledge. In social science research there is precise synthesis of various researched data sources to give off information. In social science research there is an inherent tendency of getting information which is not entirely accurate hence being invaluable, worthless, and deceiving.
Triangulation is a concept derived from revering according to Dentin (1988), introduced in social science research to ensure the accuracy of resourced data. The main thrust of this essay is to discuss the relevance of triangulation in social science research. According to O Donahue and Punch (2003), Triangulation is a method of cross checking data from multiple sources for regularities in the research data. Robinson (1993; 404) advocates that, “Triangulation refers to the use of more than one approach to the investigation of a research question in order to enhance confidence in the ensuing findings”.
These various definitions from different scholars suggest Hough salient, that it is quiet difficult to pin down the exact definition of triangulation as has been stated by Robinson (1993; 290) again that, “… Triangulation in it’s various guises for example using the multiple method, or obtaining information relevant to a topic or issue from several informants… ” It might seem as if it cannot be defined but the main emphasis portrayed by many definitions is that it is a testing mechanism used to ensure the accuracy of data gathered and the outcomes analyzed are telling you what you think they are telling you.
Triangulation is subdivided into four types which are analysis triangulation, investigator triangulation, theory triangulation, and methodological triangulation. They are all designed to serve one common cause mentioned earlier on, which is testing the accuracy of ensuing findings. A multi faceted or mixed method approach is the common characteristic for all four types of triangulation, an example in investigator triangulation according to O Donahue and Punch (2003) involves the use of multiple researchers in an investigation.
In data triangulation there is the use of more than two methods of analyzing the research results. In theory triangulation; hey advocate that it is the use of more than one theory in interpreting data collected in an area. Where as methodological triangulation involves the use of more than one method in data collection and interpretation. The significance of triangulation has been shown by Altimeter et al. (2008), they contend that triangulation gives a more detailed and balanced picture of the situation.
This might be true since triangulation uses a multiple faceted approach which would be capable of examining a single unit of data through use of more than one theory in interpreting that unit of data collected in an area. This view is in light of Orison ( ) won states Tanat, “triangulation Is one AT ten several rotational Tort multi-method research”. It then shows the relevance of triangulation in social science research. Robinson (1993; 383) says that triangulation, “… Is particularly valuable in the analysis of qualitative data where the trustworthiness of the data is always a worry’.
He suggests that it provides a meaner of testing one source of information against other sources to see the accuracy of the data gathered, the positive and the negative information found is quiet valuable as has been suggested in his words “both respondents are of value… Example triangulation of information about children’s performance”. This again shows the relevance of triangulation in social science One other advantage of triangulation in social science research is that it eliminates the demerits of one research technique through merging it with the strength of another research technique.
Barman (2009; 1) posits that, “the use of both qualitative and quantitative paradigms in the same study has resulted into debate from some researchers… ” However, “… Both paradigms are designed towards understanding a reticular subject area of interest and both of them have strengths and weaknesses, thus when combined there is a great possibility of neutralizing the flaws of one method and strengthening the benefits of the other for the better research results”.
This shows that triangulation minimizes the draw backs of each research method hence it’s relevance in social science research. One other relevance of triangulation in social science research has been revealed by (Shirr, 1998 as cited in Barman; 2009) who posits that triangulation can be used for confirmatory and for completeness purposes hence it’s relevance in social science search.
Shirr (1998) further confirms the benefits in the confirmatory aspect that it confirms if instruments were appropriate for measuring a concept (Flick, Cardiff, and Sistine, 2004) this again shows that triangulation is quiet relevant in social science Furthermore Barman (2009) suggests that triangulation can be used for completeness purposes mainly in researching the less explored or unexplored research problems. He goes on further to suggest that triangulation is significant in studying the complex research phenomenon. It is a good way to reap the benefits of both qualitative and quantitative methods.
It is therefore Justifiable that triangulation is an important technique in social science research hence it’s relevance. Springer (2012: 399) advocates that through triangulation there is an alternative criterion like reliability and validity. Greener (2008: 37) posits that, “Reliability is required of research studies. We must try to design research which is transparent and clear so that the reader can either undertake the same method themselves and produce the same results or the method is clear enough to instill confidence in the reader… “.
He advocates that triangulation would help in such a scenario and hence It’s relevance. The other relevance of triangulation is its ability to make a more rounded account of the phenomenon which is being examined. This has been highlighted by Crewel as cited in Murphy (201 1), who posits that triangulation enables a more holistic view of the problem, “… Telling a more comprehensive story of the thing to be examined”. On this account research ‘A’ and ‘B’ combine; they synergies a new understanding of the outcome which is called ‘C’, C as an understanding would not exist without either A and B.
However triangulation has its limitations. Various scholars have eluded over time the emeriti of the triangulation strategy. Wendy, Pendant, Harvey, and Layton (2002:101) have advocated that, “triangulation is nonetheless more difficult to employ in descriptive studies because the additional items and or techniques would have to cover the entire spectrum of every behavior. This shows that to some extent triangulation may not be entirely relevant in social science research because the material findings may be difficult to coordinate of in simple terms merge.
Wendy et al. (2002: 101) go on further to suggest that triangulation is, ” time consuming and expensive both to collect and to analyses, triangulation across the road lids to dramatic increases in costs of all kinds, to researcher and to the responded alike”. This again shows us due to the time factor; triangulation is not entirely relevant because it is capital intensive which limits the number of researchers willing to conduct research of such a nature.
Certain limitations of triangulation have been displayed by Polio and Hunger, (1995) who point out that, differences in philosophical position may lead into conflicts between supervisor and supervises especially in the Ph D dissertation work. This is due to the fact that if the supervisor prefers quantitative paradigm and the research robber necessitates the student to employ both qualitative and quantitative methods hence finding him in a greater challenge.
To conclude this essay triangulation is quiet useful and relevant in social science research because you are able to reap the benefits of both qualitative and quantitative methods. Triangulation can increase credibility of scientific knowledge by improving both internal consistency and generalizations through combining both quantitative and qualitative methods.
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