Quasitative Research: Leading a New Culture of Inquiry

Quasi-Research relates to the idea of searching for what is common, neutral, or not readily evident. For example, most marketable innovation comes from providing what is not in the market, what is new, and not formerly accomplished. Personally, individuals often find out what they want to do by discovering what they don’t want to do. Inventors, researchers, and innovators can make similar determinations by assessing a certain phenomenon strategically and by using a formatted system to create a desired outcome. This approach is a combination of taking a specific content topic (right brain creativity), embedded within a context (typically left brain logic), and making insightful connections to obtain what is lacking, thus providing space for opportunities. It is much like solving for the missing value in Algebra or balancing Chemical equations.

Quasitative research pertains to the interpretive aspect implicit to all forms of research in support of the recycling process offering what Herda, (2003) calls the “transcendental turn”. The repeated revisiting of a data source provides new nuances through the use of both deductive and inductive reasoning and may be responsible for the intuitive leaps observed in those individuals in leadership positions. Alternative possible takeaways via reconstruction are subsequently then realized. “The beauty of research is the ability to interpret it differently and critically” (House, 2001, personal communication). By using partial research applications to make a cogent whole, qualitative, quantitative, and mixed designs combine to triangulate as a research strategy useful for theory building.

Individuals, groups and cultures can utilize a portion of the processes and overall strategies skilled investigators perform. The term quasitative, also means “corporate” which by definition is an action that groups concepts together. The approach could be used for a business venture or in this case, a new approach to the arrangement, analysis and interpretation of data collection, and interpretation. Typically, research mechanics flows from observation (content) which is subjective, to a review of the textual literature (context) considered objective. It is vital after findings are interpreted from an inquiry to return again to the subject matter for confirmation and data reassessment (reconnection to both content and context), which is a cultural collective or participatory mode useful in team-building.

The implementation of such a strategy offers an alterative method to approach data collection and analysis, which can instigate an applied structure to obtain insight and facilitate opportunity.

Individuals and companies can accomplish the same venue by cultivating new skills, designing instruments, identifying balanced objectives, designing their outcomes and applying various strategies. A triangulated research approach is an ideal planning template for problem solving, making decisions, or resolving conflicts. Qualitative or descriptive research refers to the operational, experimental and instrumental application of data. Once categories (or goals) are established they can be sorted into themes and the findings assembled in a visual manner, which are then assimilated into a cohesive action plan. Through logical sequential steps, the general material of conceptual description (identification), is reduced to a specific inferential process (application), which can be expanded on again (realization) and again with enhanced increased appreciation and reconfiguration. This process systematizes a creative incubation process eliciting striking and innovative results.

Much of qualitative research pertains to the evaluation of lived or observable experience and the conceptual inquiry about the nature of whatever is being investigated. Some common methods are interviews, surveys or evaluations similar to multi-feedback systems (360-degree) utilized by businesses in areas such as total quality management (TQM) or benchmark programming (Yukl, 1998). Another way to extract data and obtain insight is to assess and process recorded information, assessment instruments, and current research performed within a specific area for use as a data source. By accessing a variety of archival and progressive theory, the observable data presented can serve to identify what is not occurring, or where information fails to be available. Qualitative research relies on operational considerations and the nature of the phenomena under study (Creswell, 1990).

Quantitative research is interested in frequencies or variables, such as the identification of a relationship, or finding a causal relationship, and requires numerical representation and statistical analysis for conclusions. Quantitative studies are designed to discover what degree of information represents the norm, how much deviation can be measured to determine what level of meaning can be reliably inferred from the data. Concepts are implied and managed statistically with an emphasis on delineating factors and other variables using formulas, matrixes and treatment administrations (Witte, 1993). The basic aim of science is to discover systematic explanations for the rules governing phenomena, and a hypothesis or proposition regarding a relationship in a quantitative approach that is typically formulated and tested (Academic Review, 2002).

The conceptualization, discovery, and significance of the findings are typically presented in tables and graphs illustrating how variables may or may not cluster. Experimental designs refer to keeping all variables constant and by isolating some, attempts to discover what relationships exist or what correlations might exist between different variables (Academic Review, 2002). It is the preferred method to extrapolate results to the general population and employs signature tools to establish predictability. Researchers often use a combination of the two types of designs or a blend of each approach type. Mixed studies are tailored to the specific purpose or questions under investigation executing partial application to uncover elusive information. A triangulated research strategy could offer an effective way to access hidden and undiscovered data. Insight may be accessed more completely through a balanced combination of approaches.

This proposed method is a form of data recycling and utilizes a series of partials to obtain a comprehensive view. Mixed designs usually have their emphasis in either qualitative or quantitative methods or a combining of the two methodologies. Qualitative data can be subjected to a soft quantification and finalized by a blend of each strategy to obtain a customized multi-level interpretive analysis. For example, financial investigation observes that a company’s profits are down. The financial statements can be reviewed considering timelines, financial statements, and labor rates to evaluate primary contingencies. Profit and loss reports can then be assessed and compared or cross-referenced to textual data sources where performance, sales or overall profits are summarized. This information could target what germane factors are contributory to the status of a project, process, or product. Performing reviews to compile and analyze the data can link the findings, and offer a reassembly of a final takeaway and a potential opportunity for rethinking results. A group of pervasive themes or determined causality would direct the strategic ongoing planning of the next phase and so on. Both the strengths, and whatever restrictions, simply increase the potential options.

Researchers perform experiments to isolate and test their assumptions to fix, define or establish certain information in response to a question, and to confirm or disprove a hypothesis. Other individuals and groups can learn to perform these functions as well utilizing available expertise and redefining how they approach issues. Quasi or partial research combines concepts, numbers, signs, and symbols evident in the mixed design approach suggesting many forms of teaching, executing and leading circumstance. The focus is upon what is not happening, what is not present, what is not evident, and through the manipulation of induction and deduction assembles what could be there. It is a deliberate framework attempting to visualize what can be created (theory building) and asks the vital questions regarding what doesn’t make sense and perhaps more importantly why? It is analogous to looking at the pieces of a puzzle and placing the focus on what area can be assembled first and then formulating the whole (apperception). Greater clarity is achieved and enhanced as new methodology and related tools emerge. It is a way to visualize the comprehensive picture individuals typically must solve a puzzle without.

Quasi-research is comprised of three strategies which are respectively, operational (relating to qualitative research) experimental, (quantitative research or cross referencing) and instrumental (mixed approach or a combination). Each research set possesses integral components to assembled, utilized, and process information. Hieroglyphs for example, are a combination of signs and symbols and represent the subtle artistry and conveyance that partials offer in defining, processing and presenting information. Quasitative approaches expand in patterned layers using the best of each research type and thus, results become exponentiated. Mixed design is a polarized research approach that does not incorporate the triangulated planning strategy of taking themes (concepts), and amounts (numbers), combined with indicators (signs), and together providing representations (symbols) for interpretation. This type of approach utilizes both types of thinking and combines the two together for a higher level of analysis so characteristic of leaders. Quasitative research as a combination of three approaches places its focus and emphasis on allowing for what is not and by identifying the void – can bring it forth.

Quasitative as an equal application of qualitative, quantitative, and mixed design offers an interpretive hybrid research method anyone can employ to accomplish a goal or major endeavor. By using a balanced blend of approaches, the chances of a successful outcome increase as a situation (or objective) is critically evaluated on many levels from varying perspectives. The potential of illuminating what is ordinarily overlooked then becomes more of a certainty when data are analyzed with a different lens at each sequential step. Further study and investigation by academic and business communities increases the potential chances available to the general population by expanding the common knowledge base. In the current informational society this ability is timely as well as necessary and is the basis for leadership training and development.

Finally, this approach can help overcome significant and pervasive thinking errors made by individuals and groups. Researchers refer to specific error types made with particular frequency indicative of certain designs. The same can be also considered with the individual, a business, or culture. Obstacles encountered when performing specialized functions are typically exacerbated when attempting change, or during a skill acquisition period. For example, when someone is learning how to play a musical instrument there are sequential, established difficulties or basic restrictions that universally occur. As a person begins to master the schema associated with the skill acquisition required to play an instrument, each sequential progress step has similar and related adjustments but the conceptual mapping will be unique to the instrument type.

A person can have a propensity for a specific skill or a talent for a given field such as music, however if repetition and practice does not occur only a certain level of execution will be realized. A genius must be motivated or inspired to manifest their capacities, in addition to the physical and mental abilities to accomplish the task. An individual may be born with inherent abilities that are “allowed or turned on” through instruction, actualized through the desire or conative will to transcend circumstances. As in longitudinal research, there is a necessary emersion and process time required to make available connections when the three factors of the set are employed. Most research requires a certain amount of breadth, depth and time for the results to solidify (National Academy Press, 1995).

If any one of the components is missing (talent, ability, and desire) the product will be reduced. All creative effort in any field is useless unless it is focused upon an objective, and is managed into a specific direction for a concrete outcome. If the right questions are asked unilaterally, concerns can be anticipated while maximizing the cognitive circuitry individuals and groups have to critically analyze situations. Using an established method to assemble relative factors in combination with a universal formula offers the potential discovery of what resources have been overlooked and what tools could be designed and put into service. It is by the compositing, sequencing, and linking process that incredible takeaways occur.

This discernment happens the same way a speller looks at a word and reasons thinking: “that doesn’t look right” and proceeds to try several versions until the word is correct. It may be that a vowel is off, or it has too many consonants, perhaps a letter is missing. It is then possible that a combination of letters is awry, but there is a preliminary idea of how it should look – this is the essence of transcendental thinking. Any individual or group can do their own brand of research that is intuitive, interpretive, and integrated – all that is needed is imagination and an innovative plan. Artist William Blake concurs that imagination, not intellect will ultimately produce that which society requires most.

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