Descriptive statistics in research and teaching: are we losing the middle ground?

Descriptive statistics in research and teaching: are we losing the middle ground? There is a poignant divide in contemporary research between qualitative and quantitative approaches, with relatively few disciplines employing the two concurrently and harmoniously. Qualitative methods are to be found almost exclusively in social sciences, and only a few disciplines in this field integrate them with quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach is especially developed in natural sciences, with exceptionally sophisticated methodology developed around hypothesis testing and inferential statistics. The obvious middle ground is represented by the historical approach, combining verbal description with descriptive statistics. The latter offers amazing options towards data visualisation, yet carries relatively little weight in terms of academic success. This paper presents an account of how descriptive statistics has fared historically, with an emphasis on disciplines in the natural sciences and geography—where the author can contribute a personal account. I argue that a more even spread of the three broad types of methodologies would benefit research across fields. Such a spread, if reflected in the school system, would be particularly helpful in facilitating the transition from secondary to tertiary education, and from there to entering research. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Quality & Quantity Springer Journals

Descriptive statistics in research and teaching: are we losing the middle ground?

Loading next page...
 
/lp/springer_journal/descriptive-statistics-in-research-and-teaching-are-we-losing-the-PWt6Pnnn00
Publisher
Springer Netherlands
Copyright
Copyright © 2015 by Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht
Subject
Social Sciences; Methodology of the Social Sciences; Social Sciences, general
ISSN
0033-5177
eISSN
1573-7845
D.O.I.
10.1007/s11135-015-0256-3
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

There is a poignant divide in contemporary research between qualitative and quantitative approaches, with relatively few disciplines employing the two concurrently and harmoniously. Qualitative methods are to be found almost exclusively in social sciences, and only a few disciplines in this field integrate them with quantitative approaches. The quantitative approach is especially developed in natural sciences, with exceptionally sophisticated methodology developed around hypothesis testing and inferential statistics. The obvious middle ground is represented by the historical approach, combining verbal description with descriptive statistics. The latter offers amazing options towards data visualisation, yet carries relatively little weight in terms of academic success. This paper presents an account of how descriptive statistics has fared historically, with an emphasis on disciplines in the natural sciences and geography—where the author can contribute a personal account. I argue that a more even spread of the three broad types of methodologies would benefit research across fields. Such a spread, if reflected in the school system, would be particularly helpful in facilitating the transition from secondary to tertiary education, and from there to entering research.

Journal

Quality & QuantitySpringer Journals

Published: Aug 14, 2015

References

You’re reading a free preview. Subscribe to read the entire article.


DeepDyve is your
personal research library

It’s your single place to instantly
discover and read the research
that matters to you.

Enjoy affordable access to
over 18 million articles from more than
15,000 peer-reviewed journals.

All for just $49/month

Explore the DeepDyve Library

Search

Query the DeepDyve database, plus search all of PubMed and Google Scholar seamlessly

Organize

Save any article or search result from DeepDyve, PubMed, and Google Scholar... all in one place.

Access

Get unlimited, online access to over 18 million full-text articles from more than 15,000 scientific journals.

Your journals are on DeepDyve

Read from thousands of the leading scholarly journals from SpringerNature, Elsevier, Wiley-Blackwell, Oxford University Press and more.

All the latest content is available, no embargo periods.

See the journals in your area

DeepDyve

Freelancer

DeepDyve

Pro

Price

FREE

$49/month
$360/year

Save searches from
Google Scholar,
PubMed

Create lists to
organize your research

Export lists, citations

Read DeepDyve articles

Abstract access only

Unlimited access to over
18 million full-text articles

Print

20 pages / month

PDF Discount

20% off