Why to Consider Qualitative vs Quantitative Research?
When writing an academic assignment, you probably want to impress your tutor with stunning content. This is when you should consider the issue of qualitative vs quantitative research. Both approaches are significant for achieving impressive results. But before using them, you should understand the main concept of each one, as well as key features and major dissimilarities.
Qualitative research deals with meanings and words, while quantitative one is associated with statistics and numbers. To be more precise, you should use the latter when you need to test theories or agree to some assumptions. During the process of generalizing the facts about a particular topic, you are supposed to use such methods as surveys with closed-ended questions, experiments, etc. As for qualitative research, using it, you will be able to catch the meaning of some concepts, experiences, and thoughts. As a result, you will get in-depth insights on the issue that you have not understood well before. The common methods of qualitative research include literature reviews, observations shared in words, open-ended questions, etc.
As you see, you can benefit from both types, but only if you understand well how to apply these researches and make them your strong points.
Strength and Limitations of Qualitative vs Quantitative Research
Both qualitative and quantitative approaches come up with their own strengths and limitations. Knowing them, you may significantly save the time that you spend on conducting any of both. Let’s look at them in detail.
The qualitative type has closer researcher’s involvement that allows gaining insider’s vision. This way, the person may discover issues that usually are missed. The results of qualitative research are significant for suggesting effects, causes, and relationships, etc. Along with these strengths, it has some limitations. The main are reliability and validity. Due to its subjective nature, it becomes quite challenging to apply conventional standards. In simpler words, the conditions, situations, context, and other similar things impact the outcome. The time that is required for collecting data, analyzing it, and giving interpretation – lengthy.
Quantitative research also has many strengths. The first one is rationality and objectivity that you gain due to the mathematical approach of data interpretation. Thanks to sophisticated software, you may quickly analyze all information. Other people may check the data as well because it is based on measured values. As for the limits of quantitative research, there are a few of them as well. For example, the experiment doesn’t take place in the natural environment. Thus the participants do not have a chance to explain their choice. Also, poor knowledge may negatively affect further interpretation. Finally, the researcher risks missing the observing phenomena due to the main focus on the hypothesis or theory.
Qualitative vs Quantitative Research: Main Differences
Due to absolutely different methods that these two types of research use for gathering and analyzing data, the research questions are also different.
- Is expressed using words and phrases
- Focuses on investigating ideas and arrangement of hypothesis/ theory
- Requires a few respondents
- Analyzes the information via categorizing, summarizing, and interpreting
- Uses open-ended questions
- Central terms: complexity, context, subjectivity.
- Reveals the results in numbers, tables, and graphs
- Puts accent on testing hypotheses and theories
- Needs many respondents
- Analyzes the data with a statistics approach
- Uses multiple-choice questions
- Central terms are: replicability, testing, objectivity, measurement
When to use Qualitative vs Quantitative Research
If you are at the very beginning of your research and do not know what type to choose, remember this simple rule:
- Use qualitative research in case you are eager to understand some issues (experiences, concepts, etc.);
- Consider quantitative in case you intend to test or confirm something (hypothesis, theory, etc.).
Actually, for most researches, it is possible to apply a quantitative, qualitative, or even mixed approach. Your final choice will depend on plenty of things, such as research questions, type of research (descriptive, correlation, etc.), and also money, time, access to respondents, etc.
Qualitative Research Approach
This approach requires having in-depth interviews with about 15 students. You need to ask them open-ended questions, like “What aspect of your study program do you like best of all?”, “How are you satisfied with your study?” etc. As a result, you will be able to clarify the issue based on received answers. It is common to use transcription software for this type of research approach.
Quantitative Research Approach
For example, you have 200 respondents at your university and want to find out how much they like their professors. Ask students to answer this question on a scale from 1-5. With the help of statistical analysis, you can state like this: “On average, respondents rated their professors 3.9”.
Mixed Methods Approach
You perform the interview with the purpose of learning whether young people are satisfied with their studies. Using open-ended questions will let you discover things that you have not known before. Later, the received insights should be tested on a larger scale. Another idea is to explore available trends. The detailed interview will help state the reasons lying behind the mentioned trends.
The Way to Analyze Quantitative and Qualitative Data
It goes without saying that quantitative or qualitative data on its own is not able to show anything. The results that you get after conducting any of these researches must be analyzed. In simpler words, you need to present the meaning of the research in relation to the research questions. Every type of information impacts the choice of methods for analyzing.
Analyzing Quantitative Data
You already know that this data is based on particular numbers. Generally, the researchers are using plain math or cutting-edge analysis for discovering patterns or commonalities in the data. The outcomes are usually represented in the form of a table or graph. It is common to use the apps like R, Excel, and others to calculate the following things:
- Causation or correlation between a couple or more variables
- Average scores
- The validity and reliability of the results
- Amount of times that a definite answer was received
Analyzing Qualitative Data
Actually, analyzing qualitative data is harder than analyzing quantitative data. It is explained by representing the results in the form of images, text, and video rather than numbers. Among common ways to analyze qualitative information are:
- Thematic analysis: investigating the information as close as possible to determine key themes and patterns;
- Qualitative content analysis: watching the position, occurrence, and meaning of the words/phrases;
- Discourse analysis: discovering the work of communication in a social context
Qualitative vs Quantitative Research: Examples
Consider a few simple examples to catch the overall idea of each approach and understand how they can work together. Imagine you are a part of a customer satisfaction survey. The questions that come from every type of research are able to give you a complete understanding of the situation:
How long have you been a client of our company? The possible answers are:
- Over three years
- A few years
- Less than a year
- This is my first purchase
- I have not made my purchase yet
What are the chances you will buy our goods again? Offer the respondents the following options:
- I haven’t decided yet
- Extremely likely
- Not so likely
Have you got any other questions, comments, recommendations, or concerns?
Putting all received information together, you have a chance to present more diverse, accurate, and engaging content.
All in all, you can see what different approaches these two types of researches have. You should think well before deciding which one to choose so that the outcome is detailed and efficient. Mind the strengths and limits of each approach, consider key features, and perform top-quality research to rich your paper with true and significant data. If you come across some difficulties while conducting qualitative or quantitative research, do not postpone applying for professional writing assistance. Experts know all peculiarities of these two approaches and will greatly save you time and efforts along with presenting a brilliant research paper.