Differences Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research: The most generally used instrument for increasing and brushing up on one’s stock of information about something or someone is research. There are two traditional approaches of conducting research in marketing, business, sociology, psychology, science & technology, economics, and other fields, namely qualitative research and quantitative research.
The type of research you run determines the quality of knowledge you have. So the question is, do you want quality research knowledge or just knowledge? When conducting research, it’s easy to find a lot of materials on any topic you want. Google guarantees that. But then there’s another part of it. Being able to sort through multitude of information and bring out specific parts. It’s not a question of comparison, but preference. Understanding research is to understand both methods.
Meaning of Quantitative Research
This one is all about the numbers. The statistics of your research. How much you can get about that topic, or that question. This type of research focuses more on the amount of material you can gather and less about the quality.
It wants something from everything. So you have the task of finding anything and everything you can on that subject. This particular style makes research quite easy. You don’t have to bother so much about the content. The question is, does it discuss the subject? If yes, then it’s acceptable. In simple words, “quantity, not quality.”
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Now we are dealing with the content of your search. As the saying goes, does it hit the nail on the head? Qualitative research looks for vital points on the subject in question. Not just vast knowledge, but particularl knowledge.
Only a few non-representative cases are chosen as a sample in qualitative research to build an initial understanding. Unlike quantitative research, which considers a large number of representative examples before recommending a definitive course of action.
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Differences Between Qualitative and Qualitative Research
1. Nature: Qualitative research functions by testing theories or hypothesis. If you lean on this style, then you don’t just take things as they are. You must examine the facts given to you. You double-check universal statements to be sure.
So to guarantee quality information, you need quality research. Nobody wants to be told in public that his research information is false. This is motivation enough to thorough. The focus here is the quality of the content.
Quantitative research however, runs on exploring ideas and formulating theories. It does not really subject them to precise tests. For example, qualitative research will tell you that papers are made from trees. So books are gotten from trees. It won’t really pay attention to telling you how. But Qualitative research will tell you how those trees become paper and how paper makes a book.
2. Approach: Qualitative research is more subjective. It takes a particular matter and analyzes the data to get concrete information. You can almost say it is biased. A researcher that wants quality picks the best out of the many.
You can’t go for qualitative research and employ everybody’s opinion on a matter. You go for the tested and trusted. That’s what you go for when dealing in business. How much more information that has much more influence?
Quantitative research in itself is objective. If the idea or fact is a part of the area of research, it’s acceptable. You don’t have to be picky when conducting quantitative research. You’re going for the numbers after all.
On this note, you can afford to accommodate almost anything on the subject. It doesn’t pick sides. Every opinion, idea or theory counts here.
3. Reasoning: Qualitative research is also inductive. From tested facts and theories, in acquires general principles. In other words, it acquires results from already proven sources. As a researcher leaning on this approach, you cannot rely on the probable.
If it’s going to count in this type of research, it must be specific. It must be certain. Quality and reliable information can then be built on this.
Quantitative research is deductive. It takes from a multitude and arrives at a conclusion. If a lot of people agree on it, then it must be true. That’s the idea with quantitative research. A researcher using this method deals with the mass. It may or may not be right. But quantitative research runs on statistics. You are more or less concerned with how much you can get. Knowing that it could make your conclusion seem weighty.
4. Sampling: Qualitative research is purposive. You direct it at a particular goal. This particular feature keeps you in check. You set in mind what you want to research on. Then you pursue only information that feeds that subject. Anything that is unnecessary can be overlooked.
Quantitative research is more random. You could have a particular research area in mind. But you can fuel it with any information that seems applicable. It could venture into some other thing. But your concern here would be it having something on the area of study.
5. Inquiry: Qualitative research is process-oriented. You focus more on the technicalities than the results. The steps your research take in arriving at an answer are vital. The materials you consult are your building blocks.
You can’t build something steady on shaky foundation. So your processes and methods are as important as your results. If not more. This ensures credible and substantial research.
A quantitative research is result-oriented. Here the end truly justifies the means. Pointing to why it deals with volume. You would generally assume that the numbers will work for you. So employing this method allows for less criticism on the process. If the results have high enough numbers, then chances are it works. Here, the result makes the process valid.
6. Methods: Qualitative research does not employ certain techniques. Non-structured techniques like group discussions and questionnaires. Seeing as you are more interested in quality, you probably won’t go for those. But if you’re going for quantitative research, then you need them.
Questionnaires, interviews and, observations. They feed your numbers and give you that wide coverage.
If you’re dealing on numbers, these are techniques and methods that are a must.
7. Elements of Analysis: Qualitative research makes use of words, pictures and objects. It deals with specifics. You would generally want more tangible things that you can relate to. Using this method of research leans towards things of quality. It seems to produce concrete and steady results from your research.
Quantitative research works with numerical statistics. The figures and numbers are what count in this field. On this note, the higher your numbers, the stronger your results appear.
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An ideal study is one that takes into account both techniques simultaneously. Although there are some sectors that require only one style of study, the information sought by the researcher is the most important factor. Quantitative research is tangible, whereas qualitative research is interpretive.
Though are debates as to which style or method is more effective. But it is obvious that for both tangible and statistical results, they work together. The debate as to which method is almost irrelevant. You wouldn’t want half-baked results from your research. Good research is one backed by tangible facts and high numbers.
Edeh Samuel Chukwuemeka, ACMC, is a lawyer and a certified mediator/conciliator in Nigeria. He is also a developer with knowledge in various programming languages. Samuel is determined to leverage his skills in technology, SEO, and legal practice to revolutionize the legal profession worldwide by creating web and mobile applications that simplify legal research. Sam is also passionate about educating and providing valuable information to people.