Research is simply the investigation of existing facts, theories, or assumptions to create knowledge. quantitative vs qualitative research may be conducted to generate new methodologies, concepts, and understanding. And several techniques may be employed to achieve this.
Research is usually defined by the methodology used in investigating and interpreting facts. There are two main types of research techniques. They include quantitative vs qualitative research. You have probably heard the same thing in class.
But why does it seem impossible to understand how both of these research techniques work? The answer is simply because you are yet to understand the difference between them.
In this article, I am going to be discussing the difference between quantitative vs qualitative research.
Before I explain the difference between qualitative vs quantitative research, it is essential to understand what it means for something to be quantitative or qualitative.
A thing is qualitative when it focuses on a property, attribute, and a level of excellence, instead of numbers. Qualitative deals with a phenomenon that can be observed more than a phenomenon that can be measured.
A thing is quantitative when it focuses on the use, application, and implications of numbers. Quantitative necessarily involves the analysis of the relationship between a group of numbers. And a conclusion is usually inferred from the analysis.
You can identify which research technique to use by understanding the primary focus of the study.
quantitative vs qualitative research deals with investigation, interpretation, and conclusion. Qualitative research involves the gathering and interpretation of non-numerical data to capture opinion and interest.
This research approach seeks to answer how and why a particular phenomenon functions the way it is.
Qualitative research data includes non-numerical materials in the form of text, audio files, and videos. This research technique is preferred to quantitative research where an in-depth understanding of a problem is necessary.
Qualitative research is used in the humanities and social sciences. Fields like Philosophy, Anthropology, Education, History, etc, favors qualitative research over quantitative research.
You may opt for qualitative research over quantitative research due to the following reasons:
Despite the good points, qualitative research has got its fair share of disadvantages over quantitative research. They include the following:
On the other hand, quantitative research involves the collection and analysis of numerical data. This research is often used to test the causal relationship between variables.
For example, quantitative research may study the percentage increase in cocoa production caused by an increase in the use of machines in Africa between 2007-2020.
This type of research may involve tables, graphs, and charts to represent relationships between numbers and a particular period. Qualitative research data are used to show averages, patterns, and make predictions.
Quantitative research data are usually gotten from experiments, controlled observations, and questionnaires.
Some of the advantages of quantitative research over qualitative research include the following:
Quantitative research also has lots of disadvantages over qualitative research. Some of them are:
As a researcher, it is salient that you can identify when to use qualitative or quantitative methods in research. A common way to do this is by defining the purpose of the research.
Is the purpose to test or confirm something. If yes, then quantitative research is what you need. If the purpose of the research is to better understand a concept or a theory, qualitative research works fine.
Quantitative research is naturally suited for inductive research, while qualitative research is suited for deductive research. Quantitative research also favors experimental studies more than correlations and descriptive studies.
By defining the research purpose, method, and type, you can know whether to use quantitative vs qualitative methods.
In this section, I am going to be discussing what is research data and how it works in qualitative and quantitative research. Research data is simply any information that has been collected to validate or arrive at a research conclusion.
Generally, your research data is determined by the research approach you are using. Qualitative Vs quantitative data simply tells you the type of data that is used for each of these types of research.
Qualitative data is any non-numerical information, and characterized by properties and attributes relevant to the study of a phenomenon.
The information can be derived from observing the phenomenon in its natural phenomenon. It may also be derived from a recorded video of the phenomenon in question. Qualitative data can be text, a photograph, an audio file, or a video.
Qualitative data can be collected using either of the following-
This involves a one-on-one question and answers session. Research data from interviews can be gotten by following these three essential steps.
Generally, research interviews may be formal or informal depending on the research topic and the interviewee’s personality. The research may also require a recorder to ensure responses are captured accurately.
Observation is important when we talk about qualitative Vs quantitative research data. This is used in both research approaches, and the only difference is how it is used. A qualitative researcher observes and records relevant information.
Qualitative research data can be gathered through an in-depth study of a particular group or phenomenon. Case studies usually involve one or more methods of data collection. For instance, the researcher may combine observation, and documentaries to make inferences.
This involves the study of existing reports and documents on the research subject. It is the use of existing information to run your research. Researchers may have to review what others have said on the subject.
Quantitative data is simply any information expressing a certain amount, quantity, or range.
There are three main methods for collecting quantitative data, which include:
Quantitative data may be derived from manipulating variables to establish cause and effect relationships. This may be done on a large scale, or even for a small number of variables.
This involves a close study of a subject in their natural environment. Observation is used where variables can not be controlled such as in a natural environment. The researcher may be required to visit the subject’s natural environment.
Generally, surveys are used in most quantitative research. However, surveys have also been used in qualitative researches. Researchers use surveys to gather information from a selected sample of people.
Quantitative surveys are also used to test hypotheses by collecting and numbers from data. While qualitative surveys collect data to describe a topic. A survey is not necessary for most qualitative research.
Qualitative data is different from quantitative data. Examples of qualitative data include sex, name, state of origin, color, etc. While examples of quantitative data include the number of people living in Africa in 2020, the number of students that wrote a particular test, etc.
Analysis in quantitative vs qualitative research involves some steps. In qualitative analysis, the researcher must decide whether the research will use the deductive or inductive approach.
Deductive analysis occurs when a researcher uses a predetermined structure to analyze data. This often happens when the researcher has an idea of the responses he or she will receive from a sample population.
While inductive analysis is used where the researcher does not know what he or she expects from the sample population. There are four simple steps to follow when you are doing qualitative analysis. They include
The above method is different from quantitative analysis. In quantitative analysis, the researcher makes use of mathematical or statistical models to interpret data. Some common techniques for quantitative analysis include-.
Quantitative analysis should reveal the following information:
I have come to the end of our discussion on qualitative vs quantitative research. In this article, I have been able to explain most of the differences between qualitative vs quantitative research.
I believe you can identify each and apply each of them where necessary. All you have to do is to read our guide anytime you are confused about them.
Qualitative simply means to be centered on a property, or attribute more than numbers. While quantitative deals with numbers, qualitative is a state of affairs that depicts the “how” and why a thing is a way it is.
Quantitative research involves the collection and analysis of numerical data to show a causal relationship between more than one variable. On the other hand, qualitative research is the study, collection, and interpretation of non-numerical data to capture the essence of a subject matter.
No, both qualitative and quantitative research have their strengths and weaknesses. Researchers must identify when each of these research approaches is more relevant than the other.
Examples of quantitative data include the number of students in high schools in a given location, the number of medical doctors in a state, the inflation rate in the US during the lockdown, etc.
Qualitative data is determined by the type of research and the method of data collection. In some cases, qualitative data can include reports, interview responses, etc. Examples of qualitative data may also include, age, sex, name, marital status, color, height, etc.
Qualitative and quantitative research are two complementary methods of understanding a phenomenon. The use of one does not negate the fact that the other can also be used during the research.
Qualitative research can lead to quantitative research and vise versa. Both quantitative and qualitative require observation. However, the type and intensity of observations may differ.
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