Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research Methods — Basic Differences


Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research Methods — Basic Differences

Collecting valid data for any type of academic writing may involve two different approaches. We usually say that we toggle between quantitative vs. qualitative research methods. The first one is descriptive, while the second one is numerological. They use different techniques and provide different results. 

Depending on the context in which collected data will be more useful, the researcher decides which one is more appropriate. However, if you need to write an excellent thesis or any other kind of research paper, you will most likely need to use both.

General Differences

Before you decide which research type you are going to select for your study, it is necessary to make a basic distinction between these two approaches. Only after we become familiar with the essential features of both types, can we talk more about the relation of quantitative vs. qualitative research. 

We can name and compare several factors for both:

  • Methods they use
  • Data analysis they provide
  • Advantages
  • Limitations 

Quantitative Research

This research type refers to collecting data displayed as statistics, numerological results, represented in tables, graphics, charts, etc. Thanks to the outcome, we can establish general rules and patterns, and most importantly, confirm or deny the accuracy of any tested theory.

Key Features 

  • All studies are conducted in laboratories.
  • Quantitative research is objective and without any bias.
  • Its design is determined before it even starts.
  • It exists separately from the person who conducts it.
  • It has the same form for everyone.
  • It is in use to prove or deny a particular theory.

Methods

Quantitative methods produce outcomes measured and expressed as numerical values. Unlike in the case of open questions, for example, the use of the rating scale or closed questionnaires results in actual statistics obtained according to the sample size.

The results never include any kind of assumption or go beyond the context.

Data Analyses

The following approach serves to summarize all the information we succeed to collect during the process and provides us with a lot of useful information by using statistics. We recognize descriptive or inferential statistics. The first one helps us review our data, while we use inferential statistics to identify statistically notable differences between groups of data.

Advantages

If you are writing a thesis for the first time and you need a solid foundation for your work, you can always expect mathematical precision and scientific objectivity if you use quantitative research methods.

Limitations

This research type takes place in laboratories, meaning it lacks interaction with real environments.

Also, numbers are less suitable when you need to present outcomes that are not precise and clear.

Finally, there is always a variability of proofs due to small-scale practical use. 

Qualitative Research

We use comprehensive descriptive research methods to show results that cannot be otherwise expressed by precise numbers or statistics. This kind of research delves deeper into the issue, taking into account personal experiences, opinions, and understanding. Qualitative research examines objects and phenomena in natural settings and in interactions with humans. Its purpose is to answer the questions: Why and How?

Key Features

  • It always refers to the context set in natural surroundings.
  • It is an interactive process between the researcher and the respondent.
  • The researcher is a crucial part of the study; without him/her involved, there would be no valid results.
  • The research has a customizable design that can change throughout the process.
  • The reality is in the eyes of the observer.

Methods

Qualitative research uses different ways to collect valid data about human behavior and social interactions. Usually, the focus is on the individuals or it examines separated subjects by using interviews as the most popular method.

Moreover, qualitative researchers often use open questions, applications, and even visualization to penetrate deep into the consciousness of the respondents and obtain more comprehensive information.

Data Analyses

Qualitative research leaves more room for data analysis that will not be closely related to the subject of the research. Often, it can be an expression of creativity, topic analysis, and even discussion.

Advantages

Qualitative research involves expressing results in words, images or tones, which sometimes cannot be shown with precise measures, such as numbers. 

Also, the examiner has the opportunity to be involved in the process directly, which gives them the power to describe phenomena more accurately and provide better answers.

Limitations

This kind of inquiry puts the researcher at the very center of the process, which brings a lot of subjective thinking into the results.  

Also, the outcome is based on people's opinions and observations and those can always be viewed from multiple perspectives.

In the end, it would take a lot of time and resources to dispute this kind of research with a large number of respondents. Therefore, perhaps the most significant limitation is the small range of tested samples.

How to Choose: Quantitative Vs. Qualitative Research

You can always toggle between these two methods since they both have particular significance and a role in every type of analytical work. You can choose either the quantitative or qualitative method — that will primarily depend on the nature of your study project.

In the practical world, students are using helpful writing services that not only guide them through high-quality academic literature but also give them directions and teach them to select a suitable research method before even starting to write. 

Therefore, you can consider any of these two options. After you recognize all the pros and cons we’ve presented above, think about your content and choose the right method for your project.