Photo credit: https://ideas.darden.virginia.edu/2015/11/whats-new-in-project-management-a-hybrid-methodology/
Methodology section of any research paper is arguably the most important part of it. Mainly because the ways of data collection determine whether the research question will be answered or not. Besides, research methods influence the interpretation of the findings. The qualitative study focuses on understanding thoughts, reasons, and opinions of participants; whereas the quantitative study deals with numerical data, statistics, and facts.
Choosing the right methodology is a challenging process which should be viewed through the lens of the practical application of the research findings. In the local context, statistical data is of particular interest among the administrators and policy-makers due to giving a clear overview on any topic. Qualitative studies are often seen as subjective, their findings are difficult to generalize, and therefore cannot be used as widely.
Personally, I prefer qualitative methods because they allow deeper and more meaningful investigations. This is exactly what I what from my research experience: engaging with participants, collecting data in direct interactions to fully capture and share their stories. Therefore, planning to study the aspirations for higher education across vulnerable student groups in Kazakhstan, from the beginning I decided to follow the qualitative methodology, namely, the critical ethnographic research design.
Methodology section, if consistent with the introduction and literature review, can inform the readers about the nature of the research just as well. Critical ethnography, for instance, focuses on advocating for marginalized groups in certain cultural or social scenarios often constructed by the society in limiting ways. Thus, by following the critical ethnographic design, it is clear that my purpose is to potentially empower vulnerable students to receive higher education reflecting on the first-hand experience of others in the context of Kazakhstan.
I believe there is no right answer about the most effective or productive type of research. Afterall, the intention of researching is to draw attention and start a discussion on problematic topics. Any research design if applied properly manages to do that. Right choice of methods just makes the process easier by providing necessary tools.