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Assessing the Fit of Research Methodologies

Many learners view qualitative and quantitative research methods as a new (and, likely, somewhat daunting) field of study when they first encounter them in school. In reality, however, you probably encounter both methodologies regularly—including in the Olympic games.

You can regard each Olympic event as a research project designed to identify the best athletes in that sport. Each performance or contest is a research opportunity and each of these research opportunities must be evaluated in a way that allows the results to be ranked from best to worst.

Some Olympic events, like the pole vault or the luge, are well served by a quantitative research method, where heights or times or other measures are precisely determined and compared. Other contests, like the snowboarding half-pipe or the balance beam, rely on a qualitative methodology, using trained and experienced judges to evaluate each performance.

The method for evaluating each Olympic event is certainly well established. But in the context of this course, it’s fair to ask whether the current method is the best method for evaluating these contests.

For this discussion:

  • Choose two Olympic events: one that is evaluated using a quantitative methodology, and one that is evaluated with a qualitative methodology.
  • For each event, explain a method for scoring performance in this event using the other methodology. Identify the advantages and disadvantages of the alternate methodology and describe its use might change the practice of the sport.

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