Research is the most widely used tool to increase and brush-up the stock of knowledge about something and someone. In the field of marketing, business, sociology, psychology, science & technology, economics, etc. there are two standard ways of conducting research, i.e. qualitative research or quantitative research. While the former relies on verbal narrative like spoken or written data, the latter uses logical or statistical observations to draw conclusions.
There is a never-ending debate on which research is better than the other, so in this article, we are going to shed light on the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. Have a look.
Content: Qualitative Research Vs Quantitative Research
|Basis for Comparison||Qualitative Research||Quantitative Research|
|Meaning||Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that develops understanding on human and social sciences, to find the way people think and feel.||Quantitative research is a research method that is used to generate numerical data and hard facts, by employing statistical, logical and mathematical technique.|
|Elements of analysis||Words, pictures and objects||Numerical data|
|Objective||To explore and discover ideas used in the ongoing processes.||To examine cause and effect relationship between variables.|
|Methods||Non-structured techniques like In-depth interviews, group discussions etc.||Structured techniques such as surveys, questionnaires and observations.|
|Result||Develops initial understanding||Recommends final course of action|
Definition of Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is one which provides insights and understanding of the problem setting. It is an unstructured, exploratory research method that studies highly complex phenomena that are impossible to elucidate with the quantitative research. Although, it generates ideas or hypothesis for later quantitative research.
Qualitative research is used to gain an in-depth understanding of human behaviour, experience, attitudes, intentions, and motivations, on the basis of observation and interpretation, to find out the way people think and feel. It is a form of research in which the researcher gives more weight to the views of the participants. Case study, grounded theory, ethnography, historical and phenomenology are the types of qualitative research.
Definition of Quantitative Research
Quantitative research is a form of research that relies on the methods of natural sciences, which produces numerical data and hard facts. It aims at establishing cause and effect relationship between two variables by using mathematical, computational and statistical methods. The research is also known as empirical research as it can be accurately and precisely measured.
The data collected by the researcher can be divided into categories or put into rank, or it can be measured in terms of units of measurement. Graphs and tables of raw data can be constructed with the help quantitative research, making it easier for the researcher to analyse the results.
Key Differences Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research
The differences between qualitative and quantitative research are provided can be drawn clearly on the following grounds:
- Qualitative research is a method of inquiry that develops understanding on human and social sciences, to find the way people think and feel. A scientific and empirical research method that is used to generate numerical data, by employing statistical, logical and mathematical technique is called quantitative research.
- Qualitative research is holistic in nature while quantitative research is particularistic.
- The qualitative research follows a subjective approach as the researcher is intimately involved, whereas the approach of quantitative research is objective, as the researcher is uninvolved and attempts to precise the observations and analysis on the topic to answer the inquiry.
- Qualitative research is exploratory. As opposed to quantitative research which is conclusive.
- The reasoning used to synthesise data in qualitative research is inductive whereas in the case of quantitative research the reasoning is deductive.
- Qualitative research is based on purposive sampling, where a small sample size is selected with a view to get a thorough understanding of the target concept. On the other hand, quantitative research relies on random sampling; wherein a large representative sample is chosen in order to extrapolate the results to the whole population.
- Verbal data are collected in qualitative research. Conversely, in quantitative research measurable data is gathered.
- Inquiry in qualitative research is a process-oriented, which is not in the case of quantitative research.
- The hypothesis is generated in qualitative research by inductive reasoning. On the contrary, the hypothesis is tested by deductive research in quantitative reasoning.
- Elements used in the analysis of qualitative research are words, pictures, and objects while that of quantitative research is numerical data.
- Qualitative Research is conducted with the aim of exploring and discovering ideas used in the ongoing processes. As opposed to quantitative research the purpose is to examine cause and effect relationship between variables.
- Lastly, the methods used in qualitative research are in-depth interviews, focus groups, etc. In contrast, the methods of conducting quantitative research are structured interviews and observations.
- Qualitative Research develops the initial understanding whereas quantitative research recommends a final course of action.
An ideal research is one, which is conducted by considering both the methods, together. Although, there are some particular areas which require, only one type of research which mainly depends on the information required by the researcher. While qualitative research tends to be interpretative, quantitative research is concrete.