Qualitative and quantitative researches are the two basic research categories which are used in psychology, with both these type of research having advantages and best limitations to their use in researching.
Methods used in psychological research are used to obtain quantitative or qualitative data. Quantitative data is more often than not derived from methods such as experiments and statistics analysing data using surveys, questionnaires and interviews. Qualitative data tends not to be aimed at finding exact measurements in its findings, but is more concerned with evidence collection and analysis through practices such as observation and ethnography (using observations through involvement in activities over a period of time) (Brownlow 2011).
Observational study: research method that goes into the natural setting & observes people in action.
Qualitative research is subjective data and is often used in the social sciences (Sarantakos 2013, p. 48). Qualitative research is devoted to gathering facts, this can be completed through personal experiences, behaviours, and observations (Sarantakos 2013, p. 46). The purpose of qualitative research is to gather an in depth understanding of human behaviour and the explanations for the behaviour (Martijn & Sharpe 2006, p. 1). An issue with only using a qualitative method is efficacy, qualitative studies cannot address relationships between variables with the degree of accuracy that is required to establish social trends (Sarantakos 2013, p. 46).
This paper primarily concerns qualitative research, but we were asked to compare both qualitative and quantitative methods. During comparison, there are many noted differences in both study designs, but not many similarities. Qualitative research uses a subjective approach with a large sample population. It collects non-statistical data, using an unstructured or semi-structured technique (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). Quantitative research uses an objective approach and large, random, sampling to ask opinions in a structured way. The findings of quantitative studies are conclusive and used to recommend a final course of action (Nieswiadomy & Bailey, 2018). While it is hard to see similarities between the two, both methods aim to find a solution to a problem or question, the researcher doing the study may affect the outcome and an analysis of the collected data must be done (Souza, 2017). What many don’t realize is the connection amongst the two. You can say, both types of research build upon one another, meaning quantitative studies can quantify results found in qualitative research (Souza, 2017).
Research paradigms are ‘the entire constellation of beliefs, values, techniques, and so on shared by members of a given community’ (Kuhn, 1970, p.175). The three most common paradigms are positivism, constructivism or interpretivism and pragmatism. Each of these can be categorised further by examining their: ontology, epistemology and methodology. Fundamentally, ontology is the nature of reality, epistemology describes the relationship the investigator has with their version of reality, and methodology is the various techniques and tools used to analysis their research.
Qualitative and quantitative methods allow researchers to investigate, explore and inquire the nature of the phenomenon being studied. It is important that the researcher develops a clear understanding of the problem and design a plan to investigate it (Cresswell, 1998, para. 1). There are a variety of research methods; nevertheless, it is important to consider which research method is appropriate for the study. Qualitative research focuses on human experiences while quantitative research relies on numbers, measurements, and testing. Nevertheless, qualitative and quantitative methods use similar approaches to conduct research and collect data. For example, observations and interviews are approaches used in both research designs;
Observational research can be both a standalone and an integrated research method. Observational studies can be conceptualized into four core dimensions:
Interviews allow the researcher to get more information about the study that observation alone will not achieve. Gay & Mills (2016) suggested, “Interviews provide information that is inaccessible through observation” (p. 550). During the interview, the researcher must take notes and/or record the verbal interaction taking place between the interviewer and interviewee. If the interview is recorded, one must have it transcribed in order to properly and easily collect important data necessary to the research.
First, what is research? Research was exploring the distinctions between qualitative and quantitative forms of research that we need to consider the different between ontological and epistemological questions we considered when discussing positivism, interpretive and critical paradigms. Qualitative as known as critical studies have generated insightful theories, concepts, and findings that can be explored further and advanced using quantitative approaches. Furthermore, qualitative research is used by anthropologies and sociologist as a method of inquiry in the early decades by 20 century. Besides that, qualitative research methods used are more subjective compare to quantitative research and furthermore do not include statistical analysis and empirical calculation in research.
“Quantitative and Qualitative” were the two principal approaches in psychological research currently (Bavelas, 1998). Quantitative research is concerned with applying statistical approaches to test hypotheses. Statistical methods are to consider as the analysis of data, it normally concerned with “probabilistic model” as a background. (Sibson, 1999), the prominent characteristic of probabilistic model is as the analysis of data was collected, which is considered about “mean, medians, proportions, p values, correlations or regression coefficients” (Wood et al., 2010, p.60), and it is possible that we will be represented by graphs, plots, charts, table and so forth (Soiferman, 2010, p. 6).
There is a current dispute between qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is an international acuminous and there are elements of state-sponsored sp0rt in the west for a return to kind of neopositivist quantitative inquiry.(stronach 2006; 758)
‘Methodologies’ explains the theory of how the study will be done and concentrate on the philosophical way of collecting and using data. Regarding the topic chosen the methodology will try to answer in the best way the topic research in the best way, while it will also try to use the best methods to answer the goals of these dissertations.
For many who are new to research, there is little difference between quantitative and qualitative research. Key words to define quantitative research include empirical and statistics, while words to denote qualitative include subjective and naturalistic. However, for many research scholars, the differences between the models are vast. Much of the debate centers around validity that surrounds the heterogeneous methods used to determine outcomes in qualitative research (Madill & Gough, 2008). Opposing views see use of a variety of methods in qualitative research as a context driven, useful approach, that contributes unique ideas to science (Madill & Gough, 2008). For those who keep the debate alive, Walsh (2012) makes the point that perhaps, the debate lies within the realm of ego or, “who is “right” and who is “wrong” (p. 10). Regardless, in truth the past twenty years has seen the convergence of research using both quantitative and qualitative data. All one needs to do is explore a database using the two methods as the search term; results abound showing integration. Integration has been allowed through the rigorous pursuit of empiricism through more standardized data collection and analysis in qualitative research (Madill & Gough, 2008). Qualitative research has come a long way toward understanding the need for standards of practice in methodology. Thus, combining each method toward a comprehensive approach is a more pragmatic way of studying phenomenon.
Like many other authors, Hennink, Hutter & Bailey (2011) elaborate in their book about the key differences between qualitative and quantitative research. This paper is based on, but not limited to, their findings.