Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Qualitative and Quantitative research, correlation, causation

There are perspectives of perspectives of perspectives. We draw the objective line from subjective when it is deemed convenient, common and when it satisfies the goal. So the goal drives the research. So we would always find what we seek in research. You see what you want to see.

"Correlation is not equal to causation". This was something I was playing with in my mind for sometime. In fact if causation is not known, then correlation cannot prove anything. Then correlation is simply an appearance, taken further we can talk about probability. But probability is different from certainty. Probability implies appearance and is actually a truer way of looking at things than certainty. When we prove a rule we collect a sample of data for a sample of time and use a particular method. Now there is infinite data, infinite time and infinite methods or qualitative aspects. Which one do we choose to make rules, theorems, laws etc.? It is decided upon based on human goals and conveniences. So the first cause of everything is still unknown, so nothing can be said to be true about anything. This is what the mystics saw, and called all of reality an appearance instead of a solid reality.

In a way, quantitative research is a subset of qualitative research. Because what we call quantitative is basically a set of qualities taken to be true and the edifice of quant stands on top of those chosen set of qualities - concept of measurability, divisibility, independent essence etc.

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