Quantitative Vis-à-vis Qualitative Research Methods
Research is common tool that is applied by many to brush-up and increase the stock of knowledge about someone and something. In the discipline of business, marketing, psychology, sociology, science and economics, technology, qualitative research or quantitative research are the two standard ways that are employed while conducting research. Many incorrectly think that the two terms can be applied interchangeably as they do not recognize the differences between the two research methods. However, while quantitative research mainly relies on statistical or logical observations, qualitative research is dependent on verbal narrative such as written or spoken data to draw conclusions. Thus, this paper contains a complete comparison and contrast of the two research methods.
The intrinsic difference in the use of these two reach techniques is largely accredited to the different methods in which data is captured and represented in each of the methods. Qualitative research method is defined by Schindler and Cooper (2018), as research methods that are applied to open up an individual’s opinions and thoughts besides helping to expound on a particular problem (Quinlan, Babin, Carr, Griffin, & Zikmund, 2015). Some of its common examples are the use of interviews, observations, and group discussions. Contrariwise, quantitative method put emphasis on computation of the variables, measurable quantities and the application of mathematical and statistical analysis. Nevertheless, researchers normally applies the two methods of conducting research are in reporting the results of their studies.
Qualitative and quantitative research methods differ in several ways. Qualitative research heavily relies on the application of explanations during the survey (Bordens & Abbott, 2014). In such instances, the investigator has a responsibility to solicit for an understanding the opinions of the respondents relative to the topic of study. Unlike qualitative research, data is quantified in the forms of numerical data in quantitative research quantifies. According to Bordens and Abbott (2014), this data is used to quantify the attitude, thoughts and opinion, of the respondents.
The qualitative research method is heavily deemed unsuitable for obtaining data over an extensive area. As stated by In Lochmiller (2018), this form of research needs a huge investment in terms of resources and time for the investigator to get into contact with the targeted subjects. As a result, this particular method of conducting research is well suited for research in fairly in cases or smaller areas where a small data is wanted otherwise it might be very costly to fund the study (O'Gorman & MacIntosh, 2015). Conversely, quantitative research method is considered suitable for analysing large populations as they take a shorter time and thus may not inconvenience the respondents in any way possible. Actually, some of the its methods data collection like questionnaires can also be issued to many respondents at the same time and thus permitting the researcher to use less time and to obtain the required data.
The methods used in analysis and presentation of the obtained data are easier to be interpreted by audience. For instance, through the use pie charts, bar charts and line graphs to represent the statistical data, one can easily reference and understand what the data portrays (Remler & Van, 2015). Conversely, the application of qualitative methods does not make it easier for researchers to represent results and thus one has to read through very long explanations to comprehend what is portrayed by the data. It may, thus, be tough for a reader to get the information that is summarized under the result as not all people love reading through the long texts (Miller, 2018). Understanding the explanations also necessitates one to be attentive and hence this kind of information may not be appropriately presented to a time-sensitive audience.
Contrary to qualitative data, the quantitative data makes it easier for researchers to make an exact generalization of the data during the survey. According to Remler and Van (2015), the data that is normally applied in quantitative surveys is usually obtained from a larger sample of the population and therefore may not depict the general physiognomies of the entire population. In contrast, the small sample of data that is obtained in qualitative research might not precisely describe the trend in the entire population as only a small fraction the respondents under study are interviewed, and thus the deductions may not be accurate.
The application of statistical and mathematical data to represent the analysed data in quantitative research method sometimes look very sophisticated (Gutmann, 2014). Moreover, it is burdensome to some people particularly those who do not have mathematical skills, and thus they may not be able to fully understand the results. As a result, this type of research method is not well suited to all people. Contrasting the quantitative research method, the qualitative research uses very basic models in the representation of their outcome. One is only needed to be well-versed with the reading capabilities and the comprehension of the language that has been used to develop the research the document. The particular method of research is thus well-suited for all individuals.
Irrespective of the many inherent differences between the quantitative and qualitative research methods, the two methods also exhibit several similarities in various facets of their uses. According to Gutmann (2014), the two research methods usually limit the particular variable being explore. This implies that a separate method will only remain limited to the particular aspects of study that it is measuring; this is to guarantee that the study does not diverge to other issues that may make its findings to be irrelevant to the subjects that were being explored by the research. To ensure that the research is constrained to the variable, the investigator must make sure that he sufficiently plans for the undertakings to be steered in the research.
The two research approaches can be applied to examine the same phenomenon (Quinlan et al., 2015). As it was earlier explained, some of the aspects that determine the appropriate technique to be employed during the survey is heavily dependent on the experience and ability of the researcher to employ either method of research (Stokes, 2011). Thus, the partiality of the researcher to any specific research method usually play a crucial role in determining the kind of research method that they will adopt. Nonetheless, any of the approaches can be utilized to measure the whole phenomenon.
Ethical consideration is paramount in each of the research method. In both quantitative and qualitative research methods, the researcher usually allow the participants to decide whether to participate in the study or not. According to Schindler and Cooper (2018), respondents usually make own choices while at the same time, the researcher endeavours to keep all their responses strictly confident This concept of research ethics is also supported by Bordens and Abbott (2014) who explains data should be kept and used for the sole purpose of the study.
From the above discussion on the two research methods, it evident that the two methods of research are broadly differentiated based on the skills that are required to adopt any of them and their mode of use. The quantitative research technique is more appropriate for application with a large data size whereas the qualitative research technique can be used in a small data size. Unlike the qualitative research method, quantitative research method can also be applied to generalize the results of the research in an extensive area. Regardless of the differences in the two research methods, they also have a range of similarities that were comprehensively covered above. As such, a proper research should implement both methods of research in the same research to comprehensively cover the topic of the study.
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