Qualitative and quantitative paradigms: intimate lovers or distant cousins?
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The question on which paradigm to use fora research study has always presented problems, particularly to new researchers. The methodological waters arc further muddied by many scholars who, among themselves, share different views on these paradigms. It thus becomes necessary to clarify the nature of arguments that are often thrown into the ring in debates on paradigms. This paper looks at two major paradigms in social science research, qualitative and quantitative. The major aim of the paper is to explain, particularly to the beginning researcher, the nature of each paradigm. The reader is taken from the description of each paradigm through their different departure points up to whether the two can be reconciled or not. The paper demonstrates how choice of a paradigm influences subsequent methodology At the end of the paper the issue of mixed research designs is raised. It is hoped that, armed with this knowledge, a beginner might be able to make informed choices when it comes to choosing a paradigm f or his or her study.