Qualitative and quantitative research methods are ways of collecting data from a specific target group. However, it’s important to note that they are implemented in different ways. Also, these two data collection methods allow you to answer different research questions. If you are looking to do research on human behavior, you should be able to identify whether you are dealing with a qualitative or quantitative question. There are a lot of differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods. However, it is important to note that the two overlap one another through the mode of application and objectives and thus, can be used together in one project. In this article, we will focus on the main differences between qualitative vs quantitative research.
Qualitative research is the best option for those who want to conduct exploratory research. This is because the research is used to identify individual experiences, trends, thoughts, opinions, and also look deeper into the problem in question.
This research methodology follows a versatile research technique that includes group discussions, behavioral observations, individual interviews, and focus groups. In the process of collecting data, the researcher can also read facial expressions and track the eyes which can help gauge the respondent’s attitude towards a particular topic.
Qualitative research can focus on one individual at a time this can enable the researcher to study the expressions that they are making as they respond to questions. The methodology calls for an interactive study design where data collection and research questions are deduced from the information that the respondents are giving. Most of the time, qualitative research is done with a few respondents who are expected to provide an insight into the problem. This serves as a source of information that will later be used to formulate solutions to the problem at hand.
Quantitative research is all about the numbers. It is a research method that is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors and other variables that a researcher looks to cover. The researcher does this with a view of either refuting or supporting a hypothesis on the given topic. The data gathered can then be projected to the rest of the population.
In the quantitative methodology, the researcher quantifies what is being measured and how it is being measured to reveal patterns. This can be cognition, behavior, emotion, and motivation. That is why quantitative research is considered to be more structured than qualitative research.
Quantitative research normally features interviews, questionnaires and surveys. In addition, the research may include behavioral observation that is based on specific categorization schemes. In addition, the researcher may choose to use other advanced data collection techniques such as eye tracking and facial expression analysis.
All the above techniques quantify the behavioral processes in a manner that numerical results can be obtained. After data collection, the researcher takes it through statistics and other quantitative analysis techniques for verification. However, it is important to note that quantitative data collection requires a much bigger sample size when compared to qualitative analysis.
When looking at Qualitative vs quantitative research, there are some stern differences that emerge. Below, we will look at them in a close comparison.
1. You will find that quantitative research focuses on testing theories and hypotheses. This includes numbers and statistics to explain how things are on the ground. As a result, a projection on the rest of the population can be made which will clearly portray the larger picture on a particular topic. * On the other hand, qualitative research centers on exploring ideas and formulating a theory or hypothesis. Unlike quantitative research, this qualitative research is not about finding the numbers but explaining the causes of a problem or phenomenon.
2. Quantitative research is analyzed through math and statistics. This involves the use of real numbers of people who are for a certain idea or preference. *Qualitative research on its part is analyzed through summarization, interpretation and categorization of the data collected.
3. The results of a quantitative research are usually expressed in graphs, tables and numbers. * Qualitative research on the other hand is expressed through words.
4. Quantitative research requires many respondents. The research is done in a random manner to capture the actual picture on the ground. As a result, the research follows a model that strives to cover a large number of respondents. * On the contrary, you will find that qualitative research does not require a lot of respondents. This is especially since the main objective is to identify a problem, its causes, or get suggestions on how to improve a product.
5. To get direct answers, quantitative research normally features closed, multiple-choice questions. * Since the motive of a qualitative research is to find reasons for a particular behavior, the research features open-ended questions.
6. The key terms used in quantitative research include measurement, objectivity, testing, and replicability. * On the other hand, the key terms in qualitative research include subjectivity, understanding, complexity and content.
We hope that the above explains the difference between qualitative vs quantitative research. With that, you can now choose a research method that suits the objective that you want to achieve.