Qualitative and Quantitative research

Research Methodologies: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches

For research to yield useful findings, information must be gathered and evaluated. The two main study methodologies are quantitative and qualitative approaches. An method to research called qualitative research emphasizes the thorough and in-depth gathering of data. The method is descriptive and centers on a specific occurrence in an effort to address the "who" and "why" of a study. When necessary, it is used to create hypotheses for quantitative study. (Davies & Hughes, 2014). A variety of techniques, including structured and semi-structured questionnaires, are used in qualitative study. Secondly, it uses, group discussions, face to face interviews which may also be structured or open-ended depending on the level of information the researcher requires. Another method is participant observation where the researcher studies a small group in which he/she does what the group does and records the findings from the experience (Morgan, D. L. (2013). The sample size for qualitative research is usually small and selected following a given criteria that fulfill the needs of the research. Case studies are often selected by researchers for qualitative research. The results are descriptive and enable the researcher to offer a description of human behavior. The description can then be integrated to formulate solutions or develop hypotheses for further research in large populations (Watzlawik & Born, 2007).

Differences between Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Quantitative research differs from qualitative research in its focus and way of collecting information. Whereas the qualitative focus on a smaller population, quantitative research focuses on large population samples (Bernard, 2013). The characteristic makes it easy to generalize the research findings to a particular population with similar characteristics. Additionally, the information is in most cases numerical (Morgan, 2008). I think that being numerical and focusing on larger populations is the basic difference. Therefore, the choice for a method is dependent on the needs of the research. If the research is to be used to generalize a behavior or phenomenon in a large population to inform decision-making, quantitative is the suitable method.

Benefits of Qualitative Research

Q2. Qualitative research is suitable or a researcher seeking to collect comprehensive information for a particular phenomenon. In qualitative research, the use of questionnaires allows for a synergy of information among respondents depending on the method selected. Secondly, for interviews, the interviewer or researcher is able to launch a probe and get an in-depth understanding of the interviewee's view (Lampard & Pole, 2015). Therefore, it is not simply about having structured questions where the respondent is confined to choose. The respond has the opportunity to explain why they have chosen to take a particular position (Orb, Eisenhauer &Wynaden,2000). Additionally, the researcher has the chance to take note of nonverbal and verbal cues during the conversation which is important to the research. For instance, a respondent may illustrate a certain behavior at the mention of a particular name or product. This can indicate their view on the same and the researcher can probe further from the reaction to get clarity (Davies & Hughes, 2014). Thirdly, in case of studies, the researcher and respondent can engage freely using a play or time taken which enables the respondent to break from self-consciousness. That enables the respondent to respondent without feeling the need for social desirability. The interviews or questionnaires have the ability to bring new ideas to the research that were not predetermined (Xavier University Library, 2012).Therefore, it is good in giving a research various angles of the phenomenon that was otherwise not known. When using group discussions, qualitative research enables the researcher to engage the group in a discussion which brings out the dynamics of a group. Through a discussion, the researcher can observe, get different views and understand group behavior (Lenza, 2004). Moreover, in a world of advanced technology, the interviews can be done by telephone, video conferencing and other internet platforms. When putting together the results from a qualitative research can be used to offer evidence that a certain phenomenon occurs to a particular group.


Davies, M. B., & Hughes, N. (2014). Doing a successful research project: Using qualitative or quantitative methods. Palgrave Macmillan.

Lampard, R., & Pole, C. (2015). Practical social investigation: Qualitative and quantitative methods in social research. Routledge.

Lenza, M. (2004). Controversies surrounding Laud Humphrey's tearoom trade: An unsettling example of politics and power in methodological critiques. International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 24(3/4/5), 20-31. Retrieved from http://convictcriminology.org/pdf/mlenza/Humphrey%27s%20tearoom%20trade.pdf

Morgan, D. L. (2008). Practical strategies for combining qualitative and quantitative methods: Applications to health research. Qualitative health research, 8(3), 362-376.

Morgan, D. L. (2013). Integrating qualitative and quantitative methods: A pragmatic approach. Sage publications.

Orb, A., Eisenhauer, L., & Wynaden, D. (2000). Ethics in qualitative research. Journal of Nursing Scholarship, 33(1), 93-96. Retrieved from http://www.columbia.edu/~mvp19/RMC/M5/QualEthics.pdf

Xavier University Library. (2012). Qualitative versus quantitative research. Retrieved from http://www.xavier.edu/library/students/documents/qualitative_quantitative.pdf

Bernard, H. (2013). Social research methods. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

Hopper, K. (2008). Qualitative and Quantitative Research: Two Cultures. Psychiatric Services, 59(7), 711-711. http://dx.doi.org/10.1176/appi.ps.59.7.711

Watzlawik, M., & Born, A. (2007). Capturing identity. Lanham: University Press of America.

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