What does Qualitative Research mean?
The qualitative research came up as an alternative form of research over the quantitative research methodology and was often conceptualized as the polar opposite of quantitative research. Qualitative research mainly relies on the collection of qualitative data. This research is supported by the interpretive paradigm which describes a world in which reality is socially constructed, complex and ever changing. This research method a researcher prefers for the theory to come up from the data itself. This enhances the researcher to understand and come up with possible explanations for the phenomenon which is consistent with its occurrence in the social world. The collection of characteristics that comes to make up the qualitative research came up as a result of the natural and agricultural sciences.
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Few characteristics of qualitative research
- The research is mainly inductive. The researcher mainly comes up with new hypotheses and grounded theory from the data collected during fieldwork.
- In qualitative research, human behaviour is mainly fluid, dynamic, situational, contextual and personal.
- Most common research objectives in qualitative research are descriptive, exploratory, and discovery.
- Its area of focus is wide angle. It examines the breadth and depth of phenomena to learn more about them.
- The nature of observation in qualitative research is through studying behaviours in natural environments. They study the context through which behaviours occurs.
- The nature of data is mainly images categories and words.
- Form of final report in qualitative research is narrative report with contextual description and direct quotations from research participants
What does Quantitative research mean?
Quantitative methods are majorly supported by the positivists who lead us to regard that the world is made up of observable, measurable facts. This theory grew up from the works of social anthropology and sociology. In this research methodology, the researchers are mainly concerned with discovering, verifying or identifying casual relationships among concepts that are derived from a prior theoretical scheme. The assignments of subjects are of greater concerns and much effort is used to use other random assignments so as to minimize intervening variables that could have an impact on the results of the research.
Few characteristics of quantitative research
- It is mainly deductive or “top down”. The researcher mainly uses data to test hypotheses and theories.
- In quantitative research, the human behaviour is more regular and predictable.
- In quantitative research the most common research objectives are descriptive, explanatory and predictable.
- Quantitative research methodology focuses on testing specific hypotheses i.e. narrow-angle lens.
- Quantitative research attempts to study behaviour through observation under controlled conditions.
- Quantitative research in nature of reality proposes that different observers agree on what is observed.
- Form of data collected in quantitative research is based on precise measurement using structured and validated data collection instruments like rating scales.
- Form of final report in quantitative research is mainly statistical report which contains correlations, comparisons of means and reporting of statistical significance of findings.
Similarities between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
- Both the qualitative and quantitative researchers do use similar elements when carrying out their work.
- They both rely on a theoretical framework and are much concerned with rigour.
- Both the qualitative research and quantitative research require a plan for carrying out an investigation
- Both qualitative and sometimes quantitative researchers collect data and carry out their research in natural settings i.e. through observation.
- Quantitative research is mostly used to test a theory, but can also be used to generate hypotheses and theory. Qualitative theory can be used to test hypotheses and theories even though it is used to generate theories.
- Qualitative data often includes quantification i.e. statements. Quantitative research can use questionnaire to collect data through open ended questions.
Few Crucial points on Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
- It is important to emphasize that one method is not necessary better than the other. It all relies on what the researcher is studying or wants to find out.
- The best method that the one is answers the research questions efficiently and with most inference quality.
- In qualitative research, most researchers tend to employ an inductive mode of development, and their placement of theory tends to be towards the end of the study.
- Qualitative design is used when observing and interpreting reality with the aim of developing a theory that will explain what was experienced.
- Quantitative research is needed when one begins with a theory and tests for confirmation and disconfirmation of that theory.
Author: Victoria Jones
Victoria Jones has a degree in psychology from UK. She is an expert with over 4 years experience in writing and content strategy. She has written over 50 articles, some of which have been featured in local daily’s and magazines.