The purpose of qualitative research is to evaluate a phenomenon and identify the factors that influence it significantly. It often begins with a limited understanding of the situation and the expected outcomes, discovering them through analysis of information collected over the course of the study. As such, qualitative research objectives tend to reflect this uncertainty, taking the complexity of the phenomenon into consideration. Hackley (2019) advises researchers to phrase their goals carefully, avoiding unnecessary implications and resorting to terms such as “explore” or “evaluate.” For the same reason, hypotheses are not developed at the beginning of a qualitative study, as they would be overly specific. Instead, they are developed inductively at the end of the study based on the data that the author has been able to collect. The questions are also more open-ended, with the researcher implicitly affirming that they will evaluate all information they receive without bias.
tailored to your instructions
for only $13.00 $11.05/page
In contrast, quantitative research works with specific well-defined numbers and models. The researcher will assume that the subject of their research influences other phenomena or is influenced by them despite not having obtained evidence of such a link yet. As such, quantitative objectives and questions will usually involve well-defined and measurable variables, implying that relationships exist between them and aiming to test their existence and strengths. Specificity is critical, as the results of the study need to conclusively support one conclusion or another, assuming limited bias and error as well as a non-flawed design. Hypotheses are formulated before the study begins and have to be falsifiable, featuring the variables that will inform the study design afterward (Hall & Roussel, 2020). Ultimately, the differences between goals, objectives, and hypotheses for the two research methodologies stem from their inductive or deductive reasoning.
Hackley, C. (2019). Qualitative research in marketing and management: Doing interpretive research projects (2nd ed.). Taylor & Francis.
Hall, H. R., & Roussel, L. A. (2020). Evidence-based practice: An integrative approach to research, administration, and practice (3rd ed.). Jones & Bartlett Learning, LLC.