Qualitative vs Quantitative Research
Suppose you are planning to go for a vacation somewhere and your friend who feels icy-cold even when the temperature drops by a degree instructs you to pack sweaters and mufflers too, as the weather is going to be tremendously cold there. What would be the next step you take? You would want to know the current weather in Degrees Celsius of your vacation spot as your definition of a cold weather can differ from your friend’s definition.
Qualitative research would be getting to know your friend’s opinion about the weather whereas quantitative research would include the temperature of the vacation spot.
Quantitative research refers to the scientific method of collection non-numerical data whereas quantitative research refers to the collection of numerical data and statistics.
Let’s talk about both of these methods of conducting research in detail now
2. Qualitative Research
This type of research is done to gain deep understanding of a natural setting. The research is piloted by an open communication.
Qualitative research focuses on ‘why’ rather than ‘what’ of a social phenomenon.
In qualitative research, the researcher gathers information by one-on-one interviews, focus groups analysis and observations rather than statistics. It helps you to understand the reason behind people’s actions.
The reason why women visit a particular store more than men can be discovered through random sampling which is a qualitative method. The women are questioned and their answers become our qualitative research in this case.
2.1 Methods to Conduct Qualitative Research
As the information derived from a qualitative research is more detailed and descriptive than a quantitative method, so we will talk about the different methods involved in gathering qualitative data.
2.1.1 One-on-one Interviews
This is one of the most commonly used method to gather data for qualitative research.
An interviewer questions one respondent at a time hence making it a more conversational and personal interview. As individuals are questioned in a one-on-one setting, the evaluator is able to collect more eloquent answers.
Further interrogation can also take place if the interviewer is not satisfied by the quality of answers provided.
Such interviews are usually conducted face-to-face or through phone calls. Face-to-face interviews benefit the researcher more as he/she is able to evaluate the body language of the respondent which leads to an enhanced sense of judgment.
2.1.2 Focus Groups
A focused group is based on data collection of 6-10 respondents which are a part of your target market.
The participants of such research method are gathered in the same place and a moderator conducts the research by asking a number of questions to a particular group.
It has the advantage of providing a quick research about the behavior of a group of people who are a part of your target market about a particular product or research object. A major criticism of this method is that group-think may occur.
2.1.3 Process of Observation
It is the method used to gather data by observing and perceiving the behavior of people, events etc. Observation can be done in three ways
1. Participant Observation:
The researcher becomes a part of the culture being observed to gather more authentic information and observations being an insider.
2. Direct Observation:
The researcher observes the target audience in an entirely unprejudiced and equitable way by making use of technology such as audio recording.
3. Indirect Observation:
The researcher notices behaviors of people without any self-involvement and conducts his research.
3. Quantitative Research
As quantitative research is based on quantifiable data, it is full of facts, computations and statistics.
In this method of research the researcher uses mathematical frameworks to gather numerical data.
Quantitative research focuses on ‘what’ rather than ‘how’ which indicates it as a more precise and definite method than qualitative research.
The time taken by each examiner to evaluate an exam or the time taken by students to take that exam.
3.1 Methods to Conduct Quantitative Research
Factual and quantifiable information can be gathered in a number of ways. In this article we will shed light on some of the most used methods in quantitative research.
3.1.1 Cross-sectional Studies
This method of research is conducted at a particular time to evaluate a particular segment of people. Questionnaires are given to the respondents to gather information. This aids the research to evaluate the current situation of a group of people in a specific time period.
It permits the researcher to evaluate several characteristics at a single point in time. Cross-sectional studies are an inexpensive and quick way to gather data.
It faces the criticism that people can fill the questionnaires in a biased way which can make it an imprecise research method.
3.1.2 Different Sets of Questions
As the main aim of quantitative research is to gather quantifiable data, the researcher can provide different questions to his/her respondents.
Close-ended questions are given so that the respondents provide the researcher with clear cut responses, which makes it easy to quantify the data.
Some of the close-ended questioning methods consist of rating scales, multiple choice questions and semantic differential scales. In a rating scale respondents rate objects on a given scale. Multiple choice questions are a set of questions in which a respondent has to select one of the three to four given options.
In a semantic differential scale respondents are asked to rate a particular object in a multi-point rating system which ranges from bad to excellent.
3.1.3 Survey Data Analysis
Survey forms are created to conduct this type of research method. These forms are then dispersed in different ways to reach their respondents.
The survey forms can be sent to respondents via email. Some researchers buy respondents who are well-aware of the particular research topic in order to get their questions answered in a precise way. This usually occurs when the research topic is a bit technical.
Social media can also be used to distribute survey forms within your social circle which generally provides a quicker response.
To conduct well-structured and accurate research, the researcher needs to fathom that qualitative and quantitative research methods are not at conflict with each other.
As qualitative research allows us to see the bigger picture and quantitative research allows us to provide credibility to the bigger picture by using factual details, so both of these methods can be used as a team to provide meaningful information for the purpose of research.