Qualitative and quantitative researches are two complementary methods the researcher can combine in a study to get data that is both wide-reaching and deep. If to explain simply, quantitative data gets you the numbers to prove the broad general points of your research. And qualitative data brings you the data and the depth to understand their full implications.
When you want to receive good results from these methods in your study, it’s important for a researcher to understand the differences between them. In our article, you will find the main information about these methods for research.
Needless to say, not everyone can make good research, so if you feel stuck with your paper, we can help to use qualitative and quantitative methods to complete your research properly. Trust our writing team and receive a successful research paper without stress!
The Main Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
Qualitative data collects data that seeks to describe a subject. Needless to say, a qualitative survey is less structured: it goes deep into the topic at hand to gain data about someone’s motivations, attitudes, and thinking. It gives a depth of understanding to your research questions, as well as makes the results harder to analyze.
Quantitative data is designed to collect cold, hard fact like numbers. Quantitative data is always well-structured and statistical. It provides great support when a researcher has to draw general conclusions from the main research.
When the Researcher Must Use Qualitative or Quantitative Research
Quantitative data can help you when you need to see the entire picture. Qualitative data gives the details and also provides your survey results with its own "voice". Let’s see how the researcher can use these methods in their dissertation research analysis.
Formulating hypotheses: Qualitative research helps you gather detailed information on a topic. You can use it to initiate your research by discovering the problems or opportunities people are thinking about. Those ideas can become hypotheses to be proven through your quantitative research.
Validating your hypotheses: Quantitative research will get you numbers that you can apply to the statistical analysis in order to validate your hypotheses. Was that problem real or it's just someone’s perception? The obtained data will help you to make decisions based on objective observations.
Finding general answers: Quantitative research usually has more respondents compared to qualitative research because it is easier to conduct a multiple-choice survey than a series of focus groups or interviews. But it can help you answer questions like: Do people prefer a particular company to its competitors? Which of your company’s services are most important? What writing team is the most appealing? etc.
Incorporating the human element. Qualitative research can help in the final stage of your research project. The quotes you obtained from open-ended questions can put a "voice" to the numbers of your results. For example, it helps your customers to describe your company in their own words to find blind spots. Qualitative data will show you that easily.
How to Get Qualitative Research Data
There are many methods the researcher can use to conduct qualitative research that will get detailed information on their subjects of interest.
- Interviews. One-on-one conversations that go deep into the topic at hand.
- Case studies. Collections of client stories from in-depth interviews.
- Expert opinions. High-quality information from well-informed sources.
- Focus groups. In-person or online conversation with small groups of people to listen to their views on a product or topic.
- Open-ended survey questions. A text box in a survey that lets the respondent express their thoughts on the matter at hand freely.
- Observational research. Observing people during the course of their habitual routines to understand how they interact with a product, for example.
However, this open-ended method of research does not always lend itself to bringing you the most accurate results to big questions. Analyzing the results is hard because different people use different words and phrases to describe their points of view. They may not even talk about the same thing if they find space to roam with their responses. Read our example of quantitative research questions:
How long have you been a client of our company?
- This is my first purchase
- Less than six months
- Six months to a year
- 1 or 2 years
- 3 and more years
- I haven’t made a purchase yet
In some cases, it may be more effective to make quantitative research with your questions.
Why Collect Quantitative Research Data?
Qualitative survey questions can run the risk of being too vague. To avoid confusing your respondents, you may ask questions like, “What do you think about our internet service?” Instead, you could ask a closed-ended, quantitative question like in the example below:
The internet service is reliable:
- Most of the time
- About half the time
- Once in a while
Qualitative questions take longer to answer. Survey respondents don’t always have big patience to reflect on what they are being asked and write long responses that accurately express their views. It’s much faster to choose one of several pre-loaded options in a questionnaire. Using quantitative questions helps you get more questions in your survey and more responses out of it.
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