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Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research?

I have found this which I think explains it well:

“Characteristics of quantitative and qualitative research



Objective Subjective
Research questions: How many? Strength of association? Research questions: What? Why?
“Hard” science “Soft” science
Literature review must be done early in study Literature review may be done as study progresses or afterwards
Test theory Develops theory
One reality: focus is concise and narrow Multiple realities: focus is complex and broad
Facts are value-free and unbiased Facts are value-laden and biased
Reduction, control, precision Discovery, description, understanding, shared interpretation
Measurable Interpretive
Mechanistic: parts equal the whole Organismic: whole is greater than the parts
Report statistical analysis.

Basic element of analysis is numbers

Report rich narrative, individual; interpretation. Basic element of analysis is words/ideas.
Researcher is separate Researcher is part of process
Subjects Participants
Context free Context dependent
Hypothesis Research questions
Reasoning is logistic and deductive Reasoning is dialectic and inductive
Establishes relationships, causation Describes meaning, discovery
Uses instruments Uses communications and observation
Strives for generalization

Generalizations leading to prediction, explanation, and understanding

Strives for uniqueness

Patterns and theories developed for understanding

Highly controlled setting: experimental setting (outcome oriented) Flexible approach: natural setting (process oriented)
Sample size: n Sample size is not a concern; seeks “informal rich” sample
“Counts the beans” Provides information as to “which beans are worth counting”

In general, qualitative research generates rich, detailed and valid (process) data that contribute to in-depth understanding of the context. Quantitative research generates reliable population based and gereralizable data and is well suited to establishing cause-and-effect relationships.

The decision of whether to choose a quantitative or a qualitative design is a philosophical question. Which methods to choose will depend on the nature of the project, the type of information needed the context of the study and the availability of recourses (time, money, and human).

It is important to keep in mind that these are two different philosophers, not necessarily polar opposites. In fact, elements of both designs can be used together in mixed-methods studies. Combining of qualitative and quantitative research is becoming more and more common.

Every method is different line of sight directed toward the same point, observing social and symbolic reality. The use of multiple lines of sight is called triangulation.

It is a combination of two types of research. It is also called pluralistic research.”

Oops now where did I get this….


February 19, 2009 - Posted by | Questions |

1 Comment »

  1. Wow. Nice comparative list.
    Someone spent the time making that?

    Good work referencing btw 😉

    Comment by ThatGuyFromClass | February 26, 2009 | Reply

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