Skip Nav

What Is Qualitative Research?

Differences

❶This article has multiple issues. The same happens when you conduct research and simply do not consider that the thing you look for might be red or blue or even patterned instead of black and white.

Quantity vs Quality

Qualitative Research
qualitative research,
Sign Up for our Newsletter

Qualitative research focuses on gathering of mainly verbal data rather than measurements. Gathered information is then analyzed in an interpretative manner, subjective, impressionistic or even diagnostic. The primary aim of a Qualitative Research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic. It is usually more exploratory in nature.

Quantitative Research on the other hand focuses more in counting and classifying features and constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed. Qualitative Research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the research project, Quantitative Research is highly recommended.

Quantitative Research provides the researcher a clearer picture of what to expect in his research compared to Qualitative Research. The researcher serves as the primary data gathering instrument in Qualitative Research.

Here, the researcher employs various data-gathering strategies, depending upon the thrust or approach of his research. Examples of data-gathering strategies used in Qualitative Research are individual in-depth interviews, structured and non-structured interviews, focus groups, narratives, content or documentary analysis, participant observation and archival research.

On the other hand, Quantitative Research makes use of tools such as questionnaires, surveys, measurements and other equipment to collect numerical or measurable data. The presentation of data in a Qualitative Research is in the form of words from interviews and images videos or objects such as artifacts. If you are conducting a Qualitative Research what will most likely appear in your discussion are figures in the form of graphs.

However, if you are conducting a Quantitative Research, what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of numbers and statistics. Qualitative Research is primarily subjective in approach as it seeks to understand human behavior and reasons that govern such behavior. Researchers have the tendency to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter in this type of research method.

In Quantitative Research, researchers tend to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. This is because Quantitative Research is objective in approach in the sense that it only seeks precise measurements and analysis of target concepts to answer his inquiry. This usually involves awareness of bias and deep sensitivity to the phenomenon in question. When to use the Qualitative Research Design.

Qualitative techniques are extremely useful when a subject is too complex be encapsulated by a simple yes or no hypothesis. While quantitative data reveals simple linear relationships between discrete variables, qualitative techniques yield data that is richer and more insightful into underlying reasons and patterns within phenomena.

Qualitative research is often more practicable when budgets are small and sample sizes are restricted. If a large number of participants cannot be secured for a quantitative study, the few available participants can be better understood with in-depth interviews. For example, if there are only three people in a town who qualify as subjects for a study, it might make more sense to conduct comprehensive interviews with them, i. The nature of qualitative research designs means that some useful data is always generated, whereas an unproved hypothesis in a quantitative experiment can mean that a lot of time has been wasted.

In qualitative research, it is not a problem if the research develops in an unexpected direction. In fact, the researchers are usually pleased with whatever they discover, and deliberately try to avoid going in with any expectations.

Finally, qualitative research methods are not as dependent upon sample sizes as quantitative methods; case studies, for example, can generate meaningful results with just a small sample group. Qualitative research experiments can be time- and resource-consuming compared to quantitative experiments. A researcher may need to be present for hundreds of grueling hour-long interviews, whereas a quantitative study using a questionnaire can be completed in an afternoon.

Qualitative methods also require plenty of careful thought and planning throughout the study. Researchers have to be far more sensitive to ethical issues, bias and the philosophical underpinnings of their research question than those undertaking quantitative studies.

Qualitative data cannot be mathematically analyzed in the same comprehensive way as quantitative results — in fact their analysis and interpretation can become arduous. Qualitative data is a lot more open to personal bias and judgment, and so care must be taken to present the final results appropriately: Check out our quiz-page with tests about:. Retrieved Sep 10, from Explorable. A fundamental principle in quantitative research is that correlation does not imply causation , although some such as Clive Granger suggest that a series of correlations can imply a degree of causality.

This principle follows from the fact that it is always possible a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is found in some degree. Associations may be examined between any combination of continuous and categorical variables using methods of statistics. Views regarding the role of measurement in quantitative research are somewhat divergent. Measurement is often regarded as being only a means by which observations are expressed numerically in order to investigate causal relations or associations.

However, it has been argued that measurement often plays a more important role in quantitative research. This is because accepting a theory based on results of quantitative data could prove to be a natural phenomenon. He argued that such abnormalities are interesting when done during the process of obtaining data, as seen below:.

In classical physics, the theory and definitions which underpin measurement are generally deterministic in nature. In contrast, probabilistic measurement models known as the Rasch model and Item response theory models are generally employed in the social sciences.

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique for measuring social and psychological attributes and phenomena. This field is central to much quantitative research that is undertaken within the social sciences.

Quantitative research may involve the use of proxies as stand-ins for other quantities that cannot be directly measured. Tree-ring width, for example, is considered a reliable proxy of ambient environmental conditions such as the warmth of growing seasons or amount of rainfall.

Although scientists cannot directly measure the temperature of past years, tree-ring width and other climate proxies have been used to provide a semi-quantitative record of average temperature in the Northern Hemisphere back to A. When used in this way, the proxy record tree ring width, say only reconstructs a certain amount of the variance of the original record.

The proxy may be calibrated for example, during the period of the instrumental record to determine how much variation is captured, including whether both short and long term variation is revealed. In the case of tree-ring width, different species in different places may show more or less sensitivity to, say, rainfall or temperature: In most physical and biological sciences , the use of either quantitative or qualitative methods is uncontroversial, and each is used when appropriate.

In the social sciences, particularly in sociology , social anthropology and psychology , the use of one or other type of method can be a matter of controversy and even ideology, with particular schools of thought within each discipline favouring one type of method and pouring scorn on to the other.

The majority tendency throughout the history of social science, however, is to use eclectic approaches-by combining both methods. Qualitative methods might be used to understand the meaning of the conclusions produced by quantitative methods. Using quantitative methods, it is possible to give precise and testable expression to qualitative ideas. This combination of quantitative and qualitative data gathering is often referred to as mixed-methods research. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Navigation menu

Main Topics

Privacy Policy

Qualitative research is a scientific method of observation to gather non-numerical data. This type of research "refers to the meanings, concepts definitions, characteristics, metaphors, symbols, and description of things" and not to their "counts or measures.".

Privacy FAQs

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Research in data collection, online surveys, paper surveys, quantifiable research, and quantifiable data.

About Our Ads

Qualitative research is designed to reveal a target audience’s range of behavior and the perceptions that drive it with reference to specific topics or issues. It uses in-depth studies of small groups of people to guide and support the construction of hypotheses. About this journal. Qualitative Research (QRJ) is a bimonthly peer reviewed journal that publishes original research and review articles on the methodological diversity and multi-disciplinary focus of qualitative research. The journal is edited by Bella Dicks, Karen Henwood, William Housley and Book Reviews Editor Robin Smith.

Cookie Info

What is qualitative research and how can we define it? In the handbook of qualitative research Denzin and Lincoln () describe qualitative research as involving “ an interpretive naturalistic approach to the world. Qualitative Research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the research project, Quantitative Research is highly recommended. Quantitative Research provides the researcher a clearer picture of what to expect in his research compared to Qualitative Research.