Main Difference – Quantitative vs Qualitative Research
Quantitative and qualitative research methods are two general approaches to gathering and reporting data. Both these methods have their advantages and disadvantages, and each of these research approaches is suitable for answering particular types of questions. The main difference between quantitative and qualitative research is that quantitative research can include statistical data and method whereas qualitative research involves no statistical data. A research study can also use both these methods to analyse a phenomenon.
This article looks at,
1. What is Quantitative Research?- Meaning, Features, Data Collection Methods, and Uses
2. What is Qualitative Research?- Meaning, Features, Data Collection Methods, and Uses
3. What is the Difference between Quantitative and Qualitative Research?
What is Quantitative Research
Quantitative research is based on data that can be accurately and precisely measured. This approach is also known as empirical research. Quantitative or empirical research is statistical in nature and quantities opinions, behaviours, attitudes and other defined variables. It provides measurable data to formulate theories and facts and uncover patterns. The data collected from quantitative research can be transformed into usable statistics.
Data collection methods in quantitative research method are highly structured and follow rigid techniques. Various forms of surveys such as online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys, etc. face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, and online polls are some examples of data collection methods. The data is collected in the form of responses to pre-formulated questions. The sample population in a quantitative research study is usually larger than the sample population of a qualitative study.
What is Qualitative Research
Qualitative Research is exploratory and investigative in nature. It involves data that can be observed, but not measured. Thus, it classifies the qualities of what is studied. Qualitative research is used to understand the underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations behind something as well as to uncover trends in thought and opinions. This approach can be used to analyse a problem in depth and develop hypothesis or theories.
Qualitative research uses unstructured or semi-structured techniques for data collection. These methods may include focus groups, individual interviews, and participation/observations and reviews of documents. This approach does not use any statistical tests.
Qualitative research involves a smaller population, and therefore the sample size is typically small. It collects more in-depth information on a few cases.
Since qualitative research mainly deals with descriptions and observations, and not statistics, it is considered to be a subjective approach.
Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative Research
Quantitative Research: Quantitative Research uses statistics.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative Research uses descriptions and observations.
Quantitative Research: Data can be measured accurately.
Qualitative Research: Data can be observed and not measured.
Quantitative Research: Quantitative research is known to be objective.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative research is known to be subjective.
Quantitative Research: Quantitative research uncovers measurable data to formulate theories and facts and uncover patterns.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative research helps to understand the underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations.
Hypothesis vs Research Question
Quantitative Research: Hypotheses are mainly used in quantitative research studies.
Qualitative Research: Qualitative research use either hypotheses or research questions.
Quantitative Research: Data collection methods are highly structured.
Qualitative Research: Data collection methods are semi-structured or unstructured.
Quantitative Research: The sample population is large.
Qualitative Research: The sample population is small.
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