Quantitative vs Qualitative Research on Mental Toughness

 

Quantitative vs Qualitative Research

Mental toughness

 

 

Introduction

 

It was difficult to find two articles dealing with the same thing and at the same time to have a different type of method like to be quantitative and qualitative. After searching with different keywords and different subjects, one subject is founded with both quantitative and qualitative research. Limitations were that not every subject has both qualitative and quantitative research. The database used was the library’s website at Dalarna University. Keywords used in the search were mental sports performance and mental toughness. Article title for the qualitative one is understanding the coach’s role in the development of mental toughness: Perspectives of elite Australian football coaches and for the quantitative one is evaluation of a mental toughness training program for youth-aged Australian footballers: I. A quantitative analysis

Both articles conducted 2009 in the University of Western Australia, and both articles were written by the same authors, Daniel F. Gucciardi, Sandy Gordon, and James A. Dimmock and there was another author called Clifford J. Mallet who contributed in the article understanding the coach’s role in the development of mental toughness: Perspectives of elite Australian football coaches. These articles will be reviewed and compared with each other with the help of Hopkins’s Dimensions and other databases.

Review of the quantitative article

The general purpose of the study was to follow up on quantitative data and evaluate the effectiveness of a multi-model program in enhancing mental toughness by gaining an understanding of key stakeholders, athletes, parents, and coaches. The idea about mental toughness was not something new, they have read about it before. Participants who involved in this study were three-under 15s youth-aged football teams and each team consisting of ten male footballers, a parent of each player, and three coaches. Teams were divided into three groups each group was randomly assigned to one of three conditions.

 

Control Group (n = 24; Mage = 14.46; SD = 0.36) did not receive any psychological skills training or contact from the researchers during the course of the study period.

Psychological Skills Training (PST) Group (n = 26; Mage = 14.29; SD = 0.48) followed a program involving psycho-educational and experiential group sessions targeting self-regulation, arousal regulation, mental rehearsal, intentional control, self-efficacy, and ideal performance state. A single, two-hour session was provided once per week over a 6-week period prior to the competitive season.

Mental Toughness Training (MTT) Group Participants in this condition (n = 25; Mage = 14.58; SD = 0.32) followed a program involving psycho-educational and experiential group sessions that directly and indirectly targeted the key mental toughness. A single, two hours session was provided once per week over a 6-week period prior to the competitive season.

 

From the beginning there were some procedures the authors paid attention to, for example, they highlighted that interviewer is interested in hearing about the “lived experience” of those individuals who participated in the program and this can increase validity. Also, the participant was informed that the purpose of the interviews was to obtain their opinions on the goals of the intervention, adding that their information would assist the researchers in developing and tailoring procedures to produce more effective programs in the future.

Instrumentation that is used was a Multi-source rating some include self-report, parent, and coach rating of mental toughness, although only self-reports were obtained for resilience and flow. The rating consists of a 24-item inventory designed to measure four factors of mental toughness like a through the challenge, sports awareness, tough attitude, and desire success. Responses are provided on a 7-point scale (1 = false; 7 = true). Also, self-reports were obtained for resilience contains 30 items rated on a 4-point Likert scale (0 = not at all true; 3 = completely true) and is designed to measure dispositional resilience.

High values are associated with higher levels of resilience, and low values are associated with lower levels. Also, the dispositional flow scale measures nine flow experiences in sport: challenge skill balance, action awareness merging, loss of self-consciousness, unambiguous feedback, clear goals, concentration on the task, and sense of control, time transformation, and autotelic. Participants were asked to rate how often they experience certain thoughts and feelings during their athletic experiences on a 5-point Likert scale (1 = never; 5 = always).

The study results in both the MTT and PST groups reported significantly more positive scores than the control group (p < .001) Significant differences between the MTT and PST groups were not observed. For a tough attitude, significant differences were observed between the MTT and control groups (p < .001) but not between the PST and control groups or the MTT and PST groups.

Critics of the article

The study isn’t informative the author doesn’t give all the data, that’s why it’s hard to repeat it. For example, there was an Australian football Mental Toughness Inventory (AfMTI) which includes 24- items was not in the article. The results reported as a text and tables. The study follows a red thread and systematic approach for example each rubric talk about the content moreover there was a method, result, discussion but there was not a rubric with abstract and introduction.  The method, result was directly related to the aim. Discussion and conclusion were not directly related to the aim. The data collection method was appropriate to the quantitative method because the use of numerical measurement and analysis is referred to as a quantitative approach, that is research that involves measurable ‘quantities.  According to Hopkins, (2002) quantitative research use survey in. Researchers collected the data through formula with scale for example Multi-source ratings (AfMTI; Gucciardi, Gordon, & Dimmock, 2009, s. 4).

Reliability

Concepts such as feelings, emotions, beliefs and so on have no place in research as they cannot be directly observed or measured, they are unreliable, and they are not constant over time. Interview is not a valid research instrument, because if same research done with another interviewer then there will not be the same result because everyone has their own way to talk and create questions. Depends also on the questions, a person changes by the time depend on the experience and feeling. Interviews with the coaches were conducted at a similar time of day which raises the reliability but the sample of a population they used is only Australian that’s why we can’t generalize the result to all the populations. Different people have different mentality an Asian will not behave as an African. To make it more reliable they should choose randomly from every population a sample.

Validity

By dividing teams to three groups and give or don’t give information to groups, that makes differences between them. Researchers put a multi-modal program to enhancing mental toughness and to give it for only two groups. That means that the group which didn’t receive any psychological skills training or contact from the researchers during the study period will not be effective analog with the program as the other two. That can increase the validity of study.

Review of the qualitative article

The article understanding the coach’s role in the development of mental toughness: Perspectives of elite Australian football coaches conducted 2009 by Daniel. F. Gucciardi, Sandy Gordon, Cliffordj. Mallett and James A. Dimmock in the University of Western Australia and The University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD, Australia.

The main purpose of this study was to explore elite coaches’ perceptions of how they can both facilitate and impede the development of key mental toughness characteristics in the context of Australian football. The idea about mental toughness was not something new, they have read about it before. In the study eleven coach were participated mean age 42.0 years, s=9.6 and all were recruited from the Australian Football League (AFL) and Western Australian Football League (WAFL) and had extensive playing more than 100 games and all coaches had achieved numerous individual and team successes as a player and coach. In the pressures used a semi-structured interview which had been sent before three day of the interview.

The interview consisted of a series of open and ended questions for examples ‘‘What experiences do you think footballers should be exposed to in developing each component of mental toughness?’’ and ‘‘What techniques have you employed to help develop or nurture the mental toughness components?’, ‘‘What do you mean by. ?” and “Can you give me an example of ?’’. They were asked to read both documents and consider the questions in relation to the conceptualization of mental toughness.

Then they contacted by the author and informed about the interview and each participant agreed to be interviewed at a time and place most convenient to them. Interviews lasted between 45 and 90 min and were recorded and transcribed verbatim. After that the result was that the coaches had influenced by early childhood experiences, football experiences, the relationship that exists between a coach and his or her players, coaching philosophy, training environment, specific strategies and negative football experiences.

Critics of the article

According to the result that researchers had found, it appears that coaches can both facilitate and impede the developmental process. The study isn’t informative the author doesn’t give all the data, for example, the interview questions, that’s why it’s hard to repeat it. By the way, this study is extremely qualitative, everything was a questionnaire designed and there was no scale for data. Qualitative research is based upon non-numerical analysis of words, feelings, emotions, and so on. Researchers collect the data through answers and after that, each concept was compared with other concepts so that similarities and variations between and within the properties could be identified (AfMTI; Gucciardi, Gordon, & Dimmock, 2009b). Both databases suit each other because this study is dealing with words. Researchers took in the result a table and text to feed the study.

According to Gratton and Jones (2015, s. 44) this type of approach (qualitative) has questions such as ‘why’ and how’ and in the articles, they gave example for questions they use in the study, words were often used like “what” and “can you”. Word what according to Gratton and Jones (2015, s. 44) is more relevant to the quantitative approach. Researchers used only Australia as a sample of a population, that’s why we can’t generalize the result to all the populations. The study follows a red thread and systematic approach for example each rubric talks about the content moreover there was an abstract, introduction, method, result, and discussion.

Reliability

The interview is a valid research instrument for qualitative research because it provides data from their own perspective, which is often desirable, but the reliability isn’t stable in the interview because the interview depends on the questions, participants, and the interviewer moreover the environment variables. According to Gratton and Jones (2015, s. 33) “Concepts such as feelings, emotions, beliefs, and so on have no place in research as they cannot be directly observed or measured.

Validity

The interview is a valid research instrument for qualitative research and there is no direct scale to follow and the result feed the purpose because it is logical that coaches can both facilitate and impede the developmental process and can be affected by the childhood experiences, football experiences, the relationship that exists between a coach and his or her players, coaching philosophy, training environment, specific strategies, and negative football experiences.

The differences between the articles

Table1. Shows differences in dimensions between the articles

Dimensions of Research The quantitative one The qualitative one
Nature of the topicScope of enquiry:

Mode of enquiry: 

Methods of acquisition

Ideological stance:

Political stance:

Paradigms:

Ontology

Methodology:

Dimension of utility

Novelty:

Utility:

Approach

psychologicalsample of a population

interventionist

quantitative

subjective

not impartial

interpretivism

multiple realities

quantitative research

theoretical projects

create new

applied

deductive

psychologicalsample of a population

observational

qualitative

subjective

neutral

interpretivism

multiple realities

qualitative research

theoretical projects

create new

applied

inductive

Reference Hopkins WG (2002). Dimensions of research. Sport science 6, www.sportsci.org/2002

 

 

Discussion for the table 1

The nature of the topic for both articles is psychological because mental toughness and perceptions have to do with psychology, not physiology. Both articles used a sample of a population none used a single case because a sample of a population describes what happens in general. The mode of inquiry for the quantitative one is interventionist because the authors affect the persons and the environment. In the qualitative article was everything observational the authors didn’t affect the interview and environment too much. Methods of acquisition of the quantitative one, Positivist assume that behaviors can be observed, numerically, and objectively measured and analyzed. The use of numerical measurement and analysis is referred to as a quantitative approach. Qualitative research, on the other hand, uses non-numerical data and aims to capture qualities that are not quantifiable, which is reducible to numbers, such as feelings, thoughts, experiences, and so on.

Ideological stances for both articles were subjective because the articles are not written in a specific way, they use words as “we” and “they” and so on. The political stance of the qualitative article is neutral because the authors didn’t affect the persons and the environment, and the quantitative article is not impartial because the authors didn’t treat all groups equally. Some groups received more information than others. Paradigms for both articles are interpretivism because the result depends on the interaction between the researchers and participants. Ontology for both articles is multiple realities because this can change by time. The dimension of utility for both articles is theoretical projects because it’s not pure or basic. Theoretical projects try to understand the phenomena. Novelty, both articles are new the authors didn’t review existing studies.

Final discussion

As we see above in table one, both articles share the same dimensions which means that there is no standard to follow, for example, both articles use a sample of a population from Australia and both use subjective stance. Both studies are deductive; researchers from both studies had inspiration from other studies. That means there is no new invention in this section. So it’s not a black and white distinction across all dimensions for qualitative and quantitative research for example According to Gratton and Jones (2015, s. 44) qualitative research has questions such as ‘why’ and how’ and in the qualitative articles, researchers used words like “what” and “can you” which is more relevant to the quantitative research. There are some differences in how the researchers influence the result during the method for example in quantitative research, researchers applied the method using a survey and that can affect the study by the way how the questions are chosen. Whereas in the qualitative article, the participants can express themselves more freely, because there is no survey that’s mean there is no specific answer to choose.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

References

DANIEL F. GUCCIARDI, SANDY GORDON, AND JAMES A. DIMMOCK, Evaluation of a Mental Toughness Training Program for Youth-Aged Australian Footballers: I. A Quantitative Analysis, taken from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.www.bibproxy.du.se/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=f276bd60-2dec-450d-a20d-32f4bc8a9d2d%40sessionmgr105&vid=1&hid=118 (20-12-2016)

DANIEL F. GUCCIARDI1 , SANDY GORDON1 , JAMES A. DIMMOCK1 , & CLIFFORD J. MALLETT2 Understanding the coach’s role in the development of mental toughness: Perspectives of elite Australian football coaches, taken from http://web.b.ebscohost.com.www.bibproxy.du.se/ehost/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?sid=3a71483d-6747-4f63-a3c9-c8a3fd6a7925%40sessionmgr105&vid=1&hid=118 (20-12-2016).

Gratton, C. & Jones, I. (2015). Research methods for sports studies. 2 uppl. London: Routledge.

Hopkins, W.G. (2002). Dimensions of Research. Sportscience 6. http://www.sportsci.org/jour/0201/wghdim.htm (Hämtad 2016-12-20).