Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

Whether you are new to academics or have been around for a while, you must understand that research is a critical segment of the academic field. Therefore, it is essential to know the WHATs, WHYs, and HOWs of it. Pertaining to that, this article discusses different types of research methods that you will come across. Namely, they are — quantitative research and qualitative research. Here, we will learn what these types of research are, how they are different, and when they are used. This will be especially helpful for researchers and students who are just starting with their research.

03.10.2021

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

This article explains the difference between quantitative and qualitative research. To give you an opportunity to practice proofreading, we have left a few spelling, punctuation, or grammatical errors in the text. See if you can spot them! If you spot the errors correctly, you will be entitled to a 10% discount.

Whether you are new to academics or have been around for a while, you must understand that research is a critical segment of the academic field. Therefore, it is essential to know the WHATs, WHYs, and HOWs of it. Pertaining to that, this article discusses different types of research methods that you will come across. Namely, they are — quantitative research and qualitative research. Here, we will learn what these types of research are, how they are different, and when they are used. This will be especially helpful for researchers and students who are just starting with their research.

Quantitative research vs. qualitative research

Quantitative research is a type of research method that relies on graphs, numbers, and statistics. The quantitative research method relies more on statistics and logical explanations. You generally use this type of research method to find out results and test and confirm theories and hypotheses. Methods such as observations, experiments, recording numbers, and such are common for this type of research.

Qualitative research relies more on words, concepts, meanings, and insightful explanations. This type of research helps you understand beliefs, thoughts, and opinions. It explores them in-depth from a literary sense rather than with numbers or statistics. The most common methods qualitative research involves are descriptive observations, open-ended questions, literary reviews exploring meaning, and theories.

What are the differences between quantitative and qualitative research?

What is it that sets quantitative and qualitative research apart? From the definition itself, you must have figured out a basic difference between these methods. Quantitative research is more numerically dependent, while qualitative research relies on words, concepts, and descriptions.

Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research

The main purpose is to test hypotheses and theories

The main purpose is to explore opinions, beliefs, and ideas

Expressed in the form of numbers, statistics, and graphs

Expressed in descriptive words and essays

Analyzation through numerical means

Analyzation through interpretation and summarization

Needs multiple subjects

Needs a few subjects

Requires several respondents

Requires limited respondents

Multiple choice (closed) questions

Open-ended questions

Uses methods such as observations, experiments, surveys, and recording numbers

Uses methods such as open-ended questions, literary reviews, interviews, and exploring meaning and theories

Methods: surveys, experiments, observations

Methods: interviews, literature review, focus groups

Analyzing: statistical scores, Excel, SPSS, AMOS

Analyzing: content analysis, discourse analysis, thematic analysis

Which type of research should you use?

For people who are just starting with their academic journeys, or are new to the whole research scene, understanding which method to use can be challenging. You’ll see that while you are working on your study, there will be instances that will throw you into confusion as to quantitative and qualitative research to choose.

Therefore, we need to know which type of research, quantitative and qualitative research, is best for your study. Here is a common rule of thumb that will help you out:

  • When your study revolves around confirming or testing something, use the quantitative research method

  • When your study involves understanding an idea or concept, use the qualitative research method

If you follow this rule, you will be able to understand which research method would be best for your study. However, at times, you will find yourself at a crossroads where both the conditions are applicable to your research. In that case, instead of panicking, feel free to use both methods. Such type of research is known as mixed-method research. Here, you mix the approaches of both methods to get your data and information.

Quantitative research vs. qualitative research

How to collect data in quantitative and qualitative research?

There are various ways of collecting data for either of the methods. Let us look at them!

  • For quantitative research: observations, experiments, and surveys

  • For qualitative method: focus group, interviews, literature reviews, ethnography

Also, do keep in mind that not all the methods are only for one of the research methods. Some methodologies apply to both types of research. For example, in case studies, surveys, and observations, data can be presented in both numbers and words, depending on your needs.

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Quantitative research vs. qualitative research

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Quantitative research vs. qualitative research

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