Comparing Quantitative and Qualitative Research

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Social theory is a “system of interconnected ideas that condenses and organises the knowledge about the social world and explains how it works” (Neuman, 2006, p.8) and for many years scientists have gathered data using specialised techniques such as Quantative and Qualitative research to support or reject these theories. Quantitative research “generates numerical data or information that can be converted into numbers,” (Experiment Resources, 2009, p.1) meaning only measurable data will be gathered and analysed in this type of research. Qualitative Research on the other hand “generates non-numerical data and focuses on gathering mainly verbal data rather than measurements” (Experiment
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Quantitative Research on the other hand focuses more on counting, classifying features and constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed (Experiment resources, 2009). Qualitative data cannot be mathematically analysed in the same comprehensive way as quantitative results and therefore can only give a guide to general trends. Quantative experiments if designed properly, rule out personal opinion and judgment, and provide results rather than observations that can be viewed as real and unbiased (Given, 2008). Quantative research also allows for replication, unlike qualitative research design, which is usually unique and cannot be exactly recreated. (Martyn Shuttleworth, 2008). Quantitative Research makes use of tools such as questionnaires, surveys and other equipment to collect numerical or measurable data and what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of numbers and statistics (Experiment resources, 2009). Quantitative research design is also “an excellent way of finalising results and proving or disproving a hypothesis and because the structure has not changed for centuries, it is standard across many scientific fields and disciplines” (Martyn Shuttleworth, 2008).

When comparing Quantative and Qualitative research methods, it is evident that there are limitations to both forms of research methodologies.
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