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Qualitative vs Quantitative Research - Learning the Basics

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research - Learning the Basics

Wondering which type of research to use for your research paper?

Qualitative and quantitative data research are the two main types of research design. However, choosing between qualitative vs. quantitative research, can be hard. Especially if you do not know what are the differences between them and how to choose the one for your research.

In this blog, we have detailed the main difference between quantitative and qualitative research designs. Read further to know more.

1. What is Qualitative Research?

As a qualitative research definition, it focuses on the gathering and analyzing of theory and data that is more natural and interpretive in nature. It examines the data in its natural environment and focuses on the reasons, definition and its theory and concepts.

For example, observation of the artifacts and social issues. In case of social issues, the researcher examines the causes behind them and propose possible solutions.

The primary purpose of qualitative research is to understand the meaning of cultures, social groups and communities. This study also includes how people understand and perceive them. It's more of a technique where you analyze and evaluate various types of data in their most natural form.

1.2 Core Features

  • For qualitative analysis, the research techniques and subjects are naturally available and you do not need anything distinct for it.
  • The researcher studies and understands the phenomenon in depth and focuses on the natural habitat of the subject.
  • The researcher participates in the research by delving deep into the root cause and collecting important data.
  • It involves theory that is based on real time data tend can evolve with time and the addition of more data.

1.2.1 Qualitative Research Methods

There are a number of ways through a researcher can collect the data that is studied and analyzed qualitatively. Qualitative research methods include case studies, in-depth interviews, focus groups, expert opinions, observation research and open ended survey questions.

  • Interviews: It is a face to face session where you learn about different concepts from experts and other people. Interviews may include structured, unstructured or semi structured questions.
  • Focus groups: These are small group discussions designed to target a specific issue or point. Each member expresses its point of view on a selected topic, which is discussed further.
  • Analytical Research: This is another important data collection approach for qualitative analysis. It uses behavioral traits like observation and pragmatic study. Researchers study processes, community happenings and people as part of their normal routines. Its is done to grasp an idea of how a certain concept work.

1.3 Limitations

  • Qualitative information does not involve large scale data due to the shortage of expenses and time.
  • Qualitative research design and questions usually require a lot of time to manage collected and analyzed data.
  • It's difficult for qualitative researchers to separate themselves from their work. Since the process is interactive and involves their active interaction with the people and their subjects.

Before starting your research paper, you need to choose your research methodology. Your research will be based on the method you choose for your paper. When writing a research paper, you need to take care of all of these things amd make sure that nothing is left out.

2. What is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research is based on collecting numerical or statistical analysis information from different sources. This data is later organized, ranked according to a certain criteria and measured in specific units..

For example, observing the increase in annual growth of a company or the growth in the amount of employees holding a foreign technical education etc.

Techniques like rapid analysis and statistical data analysis process large amount of numerical information. This eliminates the need for manual data processing.

2.1 Core Features

Quantitative research methods help you highlight important numerical data that can be further used to support your arguments and study.

Quantitative research has the following key features:

  • Structured research questions and instruments are used to collect data for examination.
  • Larger sample sizes are used that represent the population and the results are based on these large data sets.
  • Since the study is more reliable and accurate, the results can be replicated.
  • The quantitative research studies the data from a wide range of sources. It includes data represented in charts, tables and figures etc.

2.2 Methods of Collecting Quantitative Data

Quantitative research methods include observations, surveys, secondary data analysis and observation research. This offers a more detailed explanation for the arguments provided in your research.

Following are the types of quantitative research.

  • Surveys: These are the questions through which the researcher gathers feedback from the subjects. They can be either open or closed ended questions.
  • Secondary data: This includes the collection and analysis of non-primary data. Such as company accounts and other related numerical data.
  • Observation Research: This includes counting the number of times a certain concept occurs in a certain time period.

2.3 Limitations

  • The results are more numerical in nature. They offer less insight into specific behavioral traits and the way people understand various concepts.
  • Questionnaires are used. This is why the design can lead to a ‘structural bias' including inaccurate presentation of certain issues and concepts.
  • The researcher works with smaller data sets. They may be too narrow and at times superficial to represent a larger group or community.

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