Quantitative and Qualitative Research Methodologies

Introduction

The very word research gives us an impression of authenticity. It is not based on bias or prejudices neither it’s superfluous, nor is it a simplistic argument about any problem. The research employs quantitative and qualitative methodologies as tools to achieve this end. It is used in all walks of human endeavour to understand his environment, be it physical, social or political. Social research is a very interesting field where man is trying to understand society and its various phenomena and its interrelationships.

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Qualitative Method

Qualitative methodology is thought to be more idealistic, whereas quantitative analysis is thought to be more scientific as there is empirical evaluation of phenomena. It has been charged with oversimplifying the problem and neglecting the non-measurable aspect of the problem. In case of complex issues like how people view drug abuse, gender biases.or say religion, it can be used to assess a certain aspect of that research, whereas the holistic approach would give more importance to the qualitative method. These methods have long been at loggerheads with each other (Myers, 1997).

Social scientists have been used qualitative methodology for the most part of the twentieth century. It is a method that has been used when a very in-depth study of phenomena is required either because the issue is very important and sensitive or because the problem under consideration is very complex. Students who are planning to research a particular aspect of the human environment need to spend some time within that environment before developing a hypothesis to work on. Creswell says;

“Qualitative research is an inquiry process of understanding based on distinct methodological traditions of inquiry that explore a social or human problem. The researcher builds a complex, holistic picture, analyzes words, reporting detailed views of informants, and conducts the study in a natural setting” (Creswell, 1994).

Quantitative analysis is descriptive, and most of the time, it is difficult to provide a summary or generalization. It is a very detailed study and time-consuming The data obtained is very raw, and generalization is most of the time not possible, and sometimes the researches are aimed at exposing all the facets of the problem.

There are different types of Qualitative research like phenomenology, which deals with how individuals experience particular phenomena like trauma. Etc. Ethnography deals with the study of culture, which means spending a lot of time with your target group. A case study gives a detailed account of how one or more individuals react to a given situation (Neil, 2006).

Quantitative Method

The quantitative research method uses mathematical models and theories. The main reason for using this type of research method is that it devises a clear relationship between empirical observation and mathematical expression. Hence in simpler words, the quantitative research method uses numerical data to evaluate the outcomes of a study (Ismail, 2005).

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Almost all research methodologies in physics contain numerical analysis or quantitative analysis of the data. Many other subjects like taxonomy, anatomy contain a combination of the above two.

The process of measurement is central to this method.social phenomena are studied using a mathematical model. The statistic is the most widely used branch of mathematic employed in the analysis of the data. Clear and unambiguous questionnaires are prepared which are interconnected and relevant to the topic. They are worded in a manner that they don’t push respondents to answer in a particular manner. These surveys are conducted either through telephone or through mail surveys in the case of motivated respondents. Mail surveys are generally long and require time to reply. Other methods are Placed mail, e-mail surveys and online surveys. Care should be taken to take a random selection of respondents. The quantitative method allows us to generalize our results to the overall population.

Differences (Colorado State University, 2008).

Qualitative Quantitative
“All research ultimately has a qualitative grounding.”
– Donald Campbell
“There’s no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0”
– Fred Kerlinger
It has a detailed and complete aim The main aim is to classify features and count them. Later construct a statistical model.
The researcher may have a little knowledge in advance The researcher has a clear idea of what he is looking for
It is usually formalized during the beginning of the study It is actually formulated in the end
The design is not devised at the beginning Long before the data is even collected, the study is formulated and planned in detail.
The researcher actually acts as just an instrument that collects the data Usually, tools like questionnaires and other ways to collect data
The data can be in the form of words and pictures. It can also be objects Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.
It is usually subjective. It is usually objective.
Qualitative Sis detailed, it is not possible to extrapolate its result over the rest of the population Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses but may miss contextual detail.
The researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter. The researcher tends to remain objectively separated from the subject matter.

Many researchers use a combination of both the method in order to understand a particular social phenomenon. Sometimes any one method alone cannot help investigate a study. Therefore researchers tend to use a combination of both methods in order to achieve the objective of the study. Qualitative methodology is thought to be more idealistic, whereas quantitative analysis is thought to be more scientific as there is empirical evaluation of phenomena, whereas the quantitative research method uses mathematical models and theories.

According to Kohn; “Large amounts of qualitative work have usually been prerequisite to fruitful quantification in physical sciences” (Smith, n.d).

Combining methods such as triangulation, facilitation, and complementation can also be used. In triangulation, both methods are used to check and confirm the findings of any survey or study. Facilitation is used in several stages of the research paper preparation. The last usually uses the mixed method in order to give the individuals opinion.

References

Colorado State University (2008). The Qualitative/Quantitative Debate. Web.

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Cresswell (1994). The Qualitative Paradigm. Web.

Ismail, Mokhtar. (2006). Quantitative research methodology. Web.

Myers, Michael. D. (1997). Qualitative research in information systems. Association of information systems. Web.

Neil, James (2006). Qualitative Research Methods; Information, resources, & links for qualitative research methods. Web.

Smith, W.H Newton. (n.d). A Companion to the philosophy of Science. Great Britain. Web.

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