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Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research: What Is The Difference?

The terms Qualitative vs quantitative research have higher significance in the academic aspect, especially when the students are conducting research for the assignments. Whereas the term quantitative research signifies the analysis of numerical values and statistics, the concept of qualitative research signifies the meaning and the importance of the idea. To conduct the research in a very detailed manner, the student is required to take both approaches to the research.

Quantitative research
It is in the form of numbers and graphical representations that the quantitative research is mentioned in a paper. The authenticity and value of the concepts are reassured by conducting the quantitative analysis. The generic aspects of a theory like its definition, common facts associated with it, etc. are considered under this type of evaluation.

Qualitative vs quantitative research

The observations acquired through the surveys, experiments, close-ended questions, etc. are used to conduct the basic studies under the quantitative method.

Qualitative research
It is in descriptive terms that the qualitative research is expressed in a research paper. The basic concepts, experiences, and opinions regarding the relevant theories are focused on this form of analysis. The complex theories could well be explored and understood to a deeper level by researching in the qualitative form.

Qualitative vs quantitative research

It is majorly the open-ended question that is used majorly in the qualitative form of analysis. The tools literature reviews, descriptive observations, etc. have a very high significance in this form of analysis.

The basic difference between qualitative vs quantitative research
The analysis and the collection of the data are done in a very different way under the approaches of qualitative vs quantitative research. The unexplored aspects of the research could be investigated by systematically following these two methods.

Qualitative research

Quantitative research

Data extraction through the open-ended questions

Data extraction through the close-ended questions

The stress is given to formulating the aspect of the novel of the hypothesis or theory by exploring the concept deeply

The mere focus is just to analyze the given theory or hypothesis

Very few respondents are required for data collection

A larger set of respondents are required for the data collection.

The data is categorized and hence summarized to conduct a valid interpretation.

The mathematical skills and statistical analysis is used for conducting the analysis

The analysis is represented using words

The analysis is represented using tables, numbers, and graphs.

The method of data collection in qualitative vs quantitative research
The mode of data collection varies in both qualitative vs quantitative research. It is based on the academic discipline and the mode of research to be conducted in it that the method of data collection would majorly rely upon.

Qualitative vs quantitative research

There are a number of data collection techniques that could be either classified as qualitative vs quantitative research. If taken the case studies were assigned for research in academic tasks, the information or the intended data could be denoted in the form of words or numbers. The information in word form is collected using the open-ended questions and the numerical information is calculated by calculating the frequencies and rating scales of the answers obtained from the close-ended questions. Depending on the nature of the subject, either of these methods is used frequently in the associated researches.

Data collection method in the qualitative approach

  • Focus groups- The particular sample group is selected to conduct a discussion over a particular topic. To continue the analysis n the research this common opinion is relied upon.
  • Interviews- The information is collected directly by asking the person with open-ended questions
  • Literature review– A detailed survey of the most relevant publications by the scholars is conducted for a thorough understanding.
  • Ethnography- Understanding the behavior and culture of a particular community by actively participating among them for an extended period of time.

Data collection method in the quantitative approach

  • Experiments- The cause and effect relationship between the related variables are established through conducting various researches.
  • Surveys- The individuals in the selected sample size are introduced with multiple-choice questions.
  • Observations- The close observation of the uncontrolled behavior of the selected variables in the natural environment.

Deciding the implication of qualitative vs quantitative research
It is by referring to the below guidelines that it is decided whether to use qualitative vs quantitative research.

  • The qualitative approach should be implied by the student if the research focuses on grasping and understanding a particular concept.
  • The quantitative approach should be implied by the student if the research focuses on proving or examine the relevance of a hypothesis or a theory.

You can use either qualitative or quantitative research methods in your academic papers. In most cases, the scholars and students tend to use a mixture of both approaches. It depends on whether the subject demands a deductive or inductive approach that the selection of qualitative vs quantitative research is decided. The decision among them would also depend on the parameters like type of research questions, the character of analysis in the research paper (Descriptive, experimental, correlational, descriptive, etc.)

The approach of qualitative research
A sample set of volunteers is selected in this approach which could even be started from or 10 or 15 individuals. The individuals are countered with the open-ended questions so that a detailed answer could be obtained from them.

The researcher is allowed to ask the following questions if they require further clarification from you. The most common approach in recording the answers is using transcription software. The observations are analyzed in detail to find the common pattern and the trend.

The approach of quantitative research
The sample size for the survey is much larger in this context and even the smallest sample starts from the three-digit numbers. Though the number of questions asked to them are very small and would reach up to only 6 to 7. Since the analysis would arrive through the numerical and arithmetical operations, the scholar should have taken the statistical approach in the evaluation.

The approach of mixed-method
The use of open-ended question though bring you with thorough learning of particular opinion towards an issue and thus would bring a new dimension to the discussion. Though adding the element of quantitative analysis would give a comprehensive outlook over the whole analysis. A detailed survey needs to be conducted by the researcher to meet this parameter.

The approach of analysis in qualitative vs quantitative research data
Just collecting the data for qualitative vs quantitative research would help you in deriving a lesson or conclusion for the readers. A detailed analysis of the collected information should be conducted to display a meaning for the study conducted in the research. The mode of analysis would vary as per the characteristics of data collected for the research.

Mode of analyzing the qualitative data
Unlike in the case of quantitative data, qualitative data is far difficult to be analyzed. The researcher tries to use the tools like videos, images, and discussions apart from doing the numerical calculations.

In the below section of this article on qualitative vs quantitative research, the basic approach to be taken in analyzing the qualitative data is mentioned.

  • Thematic analysis – The thorough analysis of the data to understand the underlying patterns and the core theme.
  • Qualitative content analysis – Reading behind the lines and understanding the hidden meaning of the words and phrases is done in this approach.
  • Discourse analysis – This analysis would reveal to the readers how the particular idea or communication in the practical context.

Mode of analyzing the quantitative data

It is entirely based on the numerical approach that the analysis of quantitative data is conducted. The basic arithmetic operations and the statistical operations are used in this type of analysis to reveal the major patterns and common trends in the collected data. For better representation, often the analysis is explained using tables and graphs.

To analyze the humungous data, advanced applications like R, SPSS, or Excel, could be used to carry out Quantitative analysis. The basic operations in the quantitative analysis are: –

  • Frequency of a particular answer or opinion.
  • The average of the whole score or measurement.
  • The relation of the correlation and cause in between the variables.
  • The relevance of the response with respect to the context of the research

Frequently asked questions regarding qualitative vs quantitative research:-
What is the elementary difference between qualitative vs quantitative research?
Whereas qualitative research pertains to the discussion over a concept, quantitative research pertains to the numerical representation and statistical analysis of the collected data. It is the experiences and opinions regarding a topic that is tested under qualitative research, whereas the quantitative approach focuses majorly on the statistical and factual approaches.

What is a mixed-method search?
The appropriate use of both the quantitative and qualitative approaches is done in the mixed method. This is a more appropriate method of analysis that helps in answering the research questions.

How to decide the appropriate research method to be used?
It entirely depends on the characteristics of the research questions and the type of data collected that the required research method is decided.

  • The experimental approach should be taken if the cause and effect relationships in between the variables are to be proven. In a similar way, the descriptive approach should be taken if the research demands analyzing the characteristics of the selected topic or issue.
  • The student should rely on the secondary data if they provide information that is humungous and very hard to be processed. Though the primary data should be relied upon if the research demands accuracy and specificity in the analysis.
  • The quantitative approach is considered to be the best when the study demands to prove a hypothesis or conduct a test. The qualitative approach should be used when the task requires exploring the thoughts and ideas on a much deeper level.

What is data collection?
The act of collecting the required data and observations to conduct the analysis in research is termed data collection. The significance of data collection pertains to a lot of aspects like a business. Academics, government activities, etc.

How do you analyze qualitative data?
The steps to be followed in analyzing the qualitative data are very specifically mentioned. They are:-

  1. Arranging the data for easier analysis
  2. Exploring through the whole data
  3. Devising an appropriate coding or calculating system for the data.
  4. Implying the codes on the collected data.
  5. Recognizing the trend or recurring themes.

We have discussed qualitative vs quantitative research very elaborately in this article. You could also go through our similar sample papers in the official portal of

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Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research: What Is The Difference?


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