Qualitative and Quantitative Research

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Qualitative research is commonly described as research based on written or spoken data while quantitative research is about numbers and mathematics calculations. Qualitative research premises on a belief that the world is unstable and irrational meaning that it is based in a certain context hence relies on diverse realities that equally vary in validity and preciseness. Quantitative research supports the belief that the world is stable and rational thus can be calculated, understood and discerned(Barnham, 2015). The main objective of the qualitative research is to elaborate and gain insight and build an understanding of phenomena through a broad collection of narrative data and development of hypothesis meant to be tested(Barnham, 2015). On the other hand, quantitative research purpose or objective is to elaborate, predict and control phenomena through a collection of numerical data and testing hypothesis.

Type of data

Qualitative research collects data that is non-numerical such as open-ended questionnaires and telephone interviews while qualitative research collects data that is numerical that may be coded such as experiments and closed-ended questionnaires.

Design and Method

The quantitative research applies computational, mathematical and statistical tools to derive results. Quantitative data collection methods mainly consist of surveys such as paper surveys, online surveys, interviews, and systematic observations(McCusker, 2015). Quantitative data collection methods are mostly structured and inflexible while qualitative data is more flexible and non-interventional. In qualitative research, the methods that are frequently applied include qualitative case study, content analysis, ethnography and action research.

Data analysis and data interpretation

In quantitative analysis, the raw data are numbers that are analyzed using statistical tools to conclude while qualitative analysis involves words as raw data and observations to conclude. Qualitative research agrees with the fact that there are multiple ways of analyzing and understanding the social world. Also, it accepts the fact that research studies will always be conducted as nothing is pre-determined(Barnham, 2015). Hence, conclusions in qualitative research can change from time to time and review. Further, generalization in quantitative research is the researcher’s responsibility while the readers are responsible for qualitative analysis.

Applications of qualitative and quantitative data

Qualitative research studies are unique as they provide intensive data on human behavior, emotions, and personality features that quantitative data cannot achieve. Qualitative research is known to advance a more in depth and comprehensive account of why certain things occur and their effects they have on people. However, quantitative research studies are known in providing data that is descriptive as data is expressed in numbers which allows users to derive fundamental facts such as demographics and group differences(McCusker, 2015). Qualitative research creates a sense of openness whereby individuals are granted the opportunity to open up and give their views on certain aspects of the social world. Qualitative research studies are highly recommended as they are useful in uncovering trends in views and thought and make in depth analysis of the problems. Further, they provide useful hypothesis for likely quantitative research(Creswell, 2017). On the other hand, quantitative research is used to quantify human behaviors, views and opinions from a larger population. While qualitative research methods outshine in studies that involve small sample size, quantitative research has the advantage of scale as it can handle large populations and data.

Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative analysis

Advantages of qualitative research

Qualitative research study’s human behavior thus data rest on human experience and observation. The qualitative research considers the instinctual nature of the human thus yields data that is more detailed(Creswell, 2017).

Qualitative research relies on smaller sample sizes thus making it cost efficient.

The open-ended nature of qualitative research process allows researchers to acquire useful data from the individual emotional response.

Qualitative approach tries to avoid any cases of pre-judgement when collecting data and attempts to provide subjects views to the readers.

Disadvantages of qualitative research

The quality of evidence provided completely depends on the researcher who may contain some level of biasness(Barnham, 2015).

The use of small sample sizes in research leads to a generalization of results which doesn’t represent the evidence from the society.

Difficulty in assessing and highlighting data rigidity as data is based on individual perceptions.

Advantages of quantitative research

Quantitative research gathers data numerically which allows data to be collected from a vast population size(McCusker, 2015).

Provides better data interpretation as results can be represented in tables charts or graphs.

Qualitative data is considered more accurate and credible due to its numerical nature.

Disadvantages of quantitative analysis

Insufficiency of resources for data collection especially because data is collected from a large population(McCusker, 2015).

Quantitative research is costly and time consuming.

Controlling the environment may be difficult as researchers may be unable to control the conditions at a particular time.

Integrating qualitative and quantitative research studies

In spite of the strength and weaknesses portrayed by both qualitative and quantitative research studies, integration of both studies can yield extremely effective results in a project. Cooperating both research methods yields more precise and detailed account as well as assures that data represented was from the general public(Bryman, 2017). Also defined as mixed method studies, integrating qualitative and quantitative analysis fosters scholarly interactions, enables methodological flexibility, enriches data collected and most importantly creates a better understanding of contrasting factors between qualitative and quantitative methods. According to (Bryman, 2017), mixed method studies tend to be more challenging to implement as it requires more resources, requires a wider range of a multidisciplinary team of researches and are more complex to conduct.


Qualitative and quantitative research designs are used in a wide range of social sciences studies. In spite of the great features that both studies portray, I would highly recommend the use of quantitative research as it appears to be much more accurate and precise. Quantitative research has the advantage of scale thus conducts research on a large population and Provides better data interpretation as results can be represented in tables charts, or graphs(Barnham, 2015). Further, the results are independent of the researcher which makes it more credible and adaptable to users such as policy makes and administrators.


Barnham, C. (2015). Qualitative and quantitative research: Perceptual foundations. International Journal of Market Research, 57(6), 837-854.

Bryman, A. (2017). Quantitative and qualitative research: further reflections on their intergration. In Mixing methods: Qualitative and quantitative research (pp.57-78). Routledge .

Creswell, J. W. & Creswell, J. D. (2017). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches. Sage publications.

McCusker, K. &. (2015). Research using qualitative, quantitative or mixed methods and choice based on the research. Perfusion, 30(7), 537-542.

January 19, 2024


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