Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research.| Research is the most widely used tool to increase knowledge about something or someone be it in the fields of marketing, business, sociology, psychology, science & technology, economics, etc.

There are two standard ways to conduct research, namely qualitative research and quantitative research. While qualitative research relies on verbal narratives such as spoken or written data, while quantitative research uses logical or statistical observations to draw conclusions.

In qualitative research, only a few non-representative cases are used as samples to develop initial understanding. Unlike quantitative research where enough representative cases are considered to recommend a final course of action.

There is a never-ending debate about which research is better of the two, so in this article, we will explain the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.

Definition of Qualitative Research

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research-1

Qualitative research is research that provides insight and understanding of problem setting. It is an unstructured exploratory research method that studies very complex phenomena that are impossible to explain by quantitative research. Although it generates ideas or hypotheses for later quantitative research.

Qualitative research is used to gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior, experiences, attitudes, intentions, and motivations, based on observations and interpretations, to find out how people think and feel. This is a form of research in which the researcher gives more weight to the views of the participants. Case studies, basic theory, ethnography, history and phenomenology are types of qualitative research.

Definition of Quantitative Research

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research-2

Quantitative research is a form of research that relies on natural science methods to produce numerical data and facts. It aims to establish a cause and effect relationship between two variables using mathematical, computational and statistical methods. This research is also known as empirical research because it can be measured accurately and precisely.

The data collected by the researcher can be divided into categories or put into ratings or can be measured in units of measurement. Graphs and tables of raw data can be made with the help of quantitative research, making it easier for researchers to analyze the results.

Difference Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research

  • Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that develops understanding of the human and social sciences to discover how people think and feel. Scientific and empirical research methods used to generate numerical data, using statistical, logical and mathematical techniques are called quantitative research.
  • Qualitative research is holistic while quantitative research is particularistic.
  • Qualitative research follows a subjective approach because the researcher is intimately involved, while the quantitative research approach is objective, because the researcher is not involved and attempts to make observations and analyzes on the topic to answer questions.
  • Qualitative research is exploratory. In contrast to conclusive quantitative research.
  • The reasoning used to synthesize data in qualitative research is inductive while in the case of quantitative research the reasoning is deductive.
  • Qualitative research is based on purposive sampling, where a small sample size is selected with a view to gaining a thorough understanding of the target concept. On the other hand, quantitative research relies on random sampling; where a large representative sample is selected to extrapolate the results for the entire population.
  • Verbal data were collected in qualitative research. In contrast, in quantitative research measurable data are collected.
  • Investigations in qualitative research are process-oriented, which is not in quantitative research.
  • Elements used in qualitative research analysis are words, pictures, and objects, while quantitative research is numerical data.
  • Qualitative research is carried out with the aim of exploring and finding ideas that are used in the ongoing process. In contrast to quantitative research, the aim is to examine cause and effect relationships between variables.
  • The methods used in qualitative research are in-depth interviews, focus groups, etc. In contrast, the methods of conducting quantitative research are structured interviews and observation.
  • Qualitative research develops initial understanding whereas quantitative research recommends final action.

Red Thread | The ideal research is one that considers both methods together. Although, there are certain fields that require only one type of research especially those that depend on the information required by the researcher. While qualitative research tends to be interpretive, quantitative research is concrete.