If you look at surveys, a quantitative technique, there is no need for a hypothesis or a theory — the point of a survey is to find out information and not to test a hypothesis. Both sides use a combination of induction and deductive reasoning. In fact, it is not too difficult to see that induction and deduction are parts of the same process Figure 1.
For example, in epidemiology diseases are observed, patterns of disease are detected, tentative hypotheses are postulated about the underlying cause or causes, and theories of the disease are formulated: From there, the theory is tested based on exposure and non-exposure, results are observed, and the theory of the disease is rejected or not rejected: So why should there be a limit to our understanding based on to one type of reasoning over the other?
The second set of difference between qualitative and quantitative research can be summed up as context, values, and involvement. In the quantitative camp, research is supposed to be conducted independent of context, be free of societal or cultural values, and the researcher is detached from, or not involved, in the process. In the qualitative camp the research is said to be context dependent, societal and cultural values are present and explicitly stated, and the researcher is involved in the process.
However, all research has a context. Quantitative research can attempt to control for this by limiting the context through controlling variables but in some quantitative techniques, such as developmental studies, this is not possible so that the context of the research becomes more important. Qualitative research does not attempt to control for context and it is through the context of the research that the research gains value, however, qualitative research can not always be said to happen in naturalistic setting, e.
On the topic of societal and cultural values, no research is value free. Where quantitative research has learned from qualitative research is that these things are present and need to be accounted for in the way research is conducted. In fact, there has been a movement in health research to publically register randomised controlled trials before they begin, so that the procedure, influences, and the veracity of the results can be publically determined.
Equally, qualitative and quantitative researchers are deeply involved in their own research. It is more a matter of when this occurs. For the quantitative researcher their involvement is notionally suspended as the data is collected, i. But this has more to do with introducing as few biases into the research than a lack of wanting to be involved.
Meanwhile, the qualitative researcher is notionally involved the whole way through their research but it is not necessarily the case in large projects where the researcher may not be involved in all or any interviews. The third group of differences put forward are that qualitative research uses words as the data, thematic analysis of the data, and has few participants whereas quantitative research uses numbers as the data, statistical analysis, and has many participants.
Again, on the surface, this appears true but with a little digging the distinction is difficult to maintain. Quantitative studies can have one participant, i. On the data and analysis side, the distinction is a matter of precision rather than use of different data and analysis. If the research requires a high degree of precision, then numbers and statistical analysis may be the requirement.
However, if the degree of precision is not as important and the views of the participants are of more value, then the use of words and thematic analysis, or another qualitative analysis technique, are more useful. Also, where the subject being studied is too complex to reduce it to quantitative data, then it is better to allow that complexity to stand and to analyse the data in a qualitative manner.
All this is true whether the research technique employed was primarily qualitative or quantitative. There is one common error that is made by both camps and it has been alluded to in the previous sections without spelling it out in detail: Both camps assume that there is only one facet to the other. In other words, the qualitative camp appear to assume that there is one, stereotypical quantitative design and the quantitative side appear to assume that there is one, stereotypical qualitative design.
However, both camps have a number of research designs at their disposal Figure 2. Furthermore, a research objective, purpose, or question is normally stated in a way that is independent of the research method employed. Surely the better strategy is to decide where you want to go and then decide which is the best way to get there? This is not to say that a single person should be or can be an expert in all areas of research, or will not have a preference for certain types of research.
Also, a research project may require more than one research design to satisfy the research question or questions being asked. Many mistakenly think the two terms can be used interchangeably. So what is the difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research? Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research.
It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research.
Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques.
The sample size is typically small, and respondents are selected to fulfil a given quota. Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables — and generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research.
Quantitative data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys — online surveys, paper surveys , mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.
Snap has many robust features that will help your organization effectively gather and analyze quantitative data. While defining quantitative and qualitative research based on their uses and purposes may be considered a practical approach for researcher, the difference actually lies on their roots: Procedures, designs, concepts, purposes and uses emanate from there.
Qualitative research is endlessly creative and interpretive. The researcher does not just leave the field with mountains of empirical data and then easily write up his or her findings. Because of the time and costs involved, qualitative designs do not generally draw samples from large-scale data sets. The problem of adequate validity or reliability is a major criticism.
Because of the subjective nature of qualitative data and its origin in single contexts, it is difficult to apply conventional standards of reliability and validity.
For example, because of the central role played by the researcher in the generation of data, it is not possible to replicate qualitative studies. Also, contexts, situations, events, conditions, and interactions cannot be replicated to any extent nor can generalizations be made to a wider context than the one studied with any confidence. The time required for data collection, analysis and interpretation are lengthy.
Analysis of qualitative data is difficult and expert knowledge of an area is necessary to try to interpret qualitative data, and great care must be taken when doing so, for example, if looking for symptoms of mental illness. Because of close researcher involvement, the researcher gains an insider's view of the field. This allows the researcher to find issues that are often missed such as subtleties and complexities by the scientific, more positivistic inquiries. Qualitative descriptions can play the important role of suggesting possible relationships, causes, effects and dynamic processes.
Qualitative research uses a descriptive, narrative style; this research might be of particular benefit to the practitioner as she or he could turn to qualitative reports in order to examine forms of knowledge that might otherwise be unavailable, thereby gaining new insight. Quantitative research gathers data in a numerical form which can be put into categories, or in rank order, or measured in units of measurement. This type of data can be used to construct graphs and tables of raw data.
Research is used to test a theory and ultimately support or reject it. Experiments typically yield quantitative data, as they are concerned with measuring things. However, other research methods, such as controlled observations and questionnaires can produce both quantitative information.
For example, a rating scale or closed questions on a questionnaire would generate quantitative data as these produce either numerical data or data that can be put into categories e. Experimental methods limit the possible ways in which a research participant can react to and express appropriate social behavior.
Findings are therefore likely to be context-bound and simply a reflection of the assumptions which the researcher brings to the investigation. Statistics help us turn quantitative data into useful information to help with decision making. We can use statistics to summarise our data, describing patterns, relationships, and connections.
Statistics can be descriptive or inferential. Descriptive statistics help us to summarise our data whereas inferential statistics are used to identify statistically significant differences between groups of data such as intervention and control groups in a randomised control study. Quantitative experiments do not take place in natural settings.
In addition, they do not allow participants to explain their choices or the meaning of the questions may have for those participants Carr,
While defining quantitative and qualitative research based on their uses and purposes may be considered a practical approach for researcher, the difference actually lies .
Qualitative vs Quantitative Research. Here’s a more detailed point-by-point comparison between the two types of research: 1. Goal or Aim of the Research. The primary aim of a Qualitative Research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic. It is usually more exploratory in nature.
1 Chapter 2 Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Research This chapter is our introduction to the three research methodology paradigms. A paradigm is a perspective based on a set of assumptions, concepts, and values that are held by a community or researchers. Qualitative: Quantitative: Definitions: a systematic subjective approach used to describe life experiences and give them meaning: a formal, objective, systematic process for .
Qualitative research collects information that seeks to describe a topic more than measure it. Learn the difference between these two forms of data and when you should use them. Quantitative research is designed to collect cold, hard facts. Qualitative Methods Quantitative Methods Methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents for types of themes.