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Qualitative and Quantitative Jack of All Trades ???

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When I completed my MSc in health research methods there was lack of content in qualitative methods/research. 

I suppose you don't know what you don't know. When I began to appraise the things I don't know, I realized that I had to return to school to develop my capacity in qualitative methods.

Now I don't want to be unrealistic about what it takes to achieve this. I'm now planning on taking an advanced qualitative methods course, followed by an advanced quantitative course. I have to dive into the advanced stuff if I want to have room for other electives. I suppose that's the challenge - you don't want to be a jack of all trades (methods) by expanding the breadth of what you can do, you want depth, to gain expertise too. I don't have a PhD topic yet but I think it will be easier to define a topic with more methodological tools and techniques at my disposal. 

On the other hand, a part of me thinks that I should stay in my lane. All I need is one quantitative methods course (not even an advanced one, which I could confidently do).


Has anyone else taken both quantitative and qualitative courses before knowing your topic? My supervisor was saying that most students get tripped up by the methods courses so it may be risky. 


Apologies for long post ...

Edited by GlobalInformatician
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In my subfield, it's pretty common to have both qualitative and quantitative methods training, with advanced coursework in one of the two areas depending on the tools and skills needed for one's own research project. I don't know enough about your field or interests to say if the same would hold true for you. At least in my area, the question of qualitative vs quantitative is more about the approach and scale one takes, rather than the specific topic. Which is to say that my project could've been slanted more in either direction and would've worked without having to change the topic.

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In my discipline, it is also common for people to get training in both quantitative and qualitative methods.  Usually people specialize at some point and gravitate towards one or the other.  It is the rare academic that does both well -  it happens, but not that frequently in my experience.  What is more common is to collaborate with someone else who has the opposite expertise if you are planning a research project that is going to utilize both methods.

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  • 1 month later...
  • 2 weeks later...

It's quite possible. One of my friends did a dissertation with both a quantitative and qualitative component. (My advisor wanted me to do one, too, but I refused because I knew it would take me a lot longer to finish.)

My department also required both qual and quant training. I originally took the qual training kicking and screaming, as I was a quant person all the way and only wanted to do quant work. It ended up being really useful in my eventual non-academic job, where I am one of the few people on my team formally trained in qualitative research methods and serve as the expert on it.

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So I dropped the qualitative course to take the required quantitative course as their timing conflicted.  Coincidently,  a potential PhD project with a qualitative component was pitched to me and I was urged to take a qualitative course. The professor said that the quantitative course I took is not that helpful for someone with my background. Apparently the course is intended to get masters students up to speed (and yet it was required for PhD students...that's odd). She used to be the director for the program and she's going to follow up with those in charge to ensure that students aren't feeling forced to take quantitative methods over qualitative methods and where conflicts exist they should be encouraged to take courses in other faculties. So now, I'm taking a qualitative PhD course and advanced quantitative course next semester. Not sure whether that'll make me a master of none but at least I'll feel better positioned when different opportunities come my way in future. Thanks for all the reassurance. 

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