The choice between qualitative or quantitative research methods is one of the most important decisions you will have to take when you are writing your research paper. Because it determines not only the nature of data processing but also the deep foundation of the study.
It is vital to pick one approach from the research methodologies for your paper – the research method will be the subject of the paper. For some students, this seems like a tough decision. Whichever method you choose depends on the research question, philosophy of research and your preference. If you find it difficult to determine whether you want to use a quantitative or qualitative research method, the first step you can take is to determine if you can quantify the topic. To do this, first, write the concepts you are interested in studying.
After you have written some concepts, you will want to explore whether you can quantitatively study the concepts you have listed. Look at articles about concepts and see what research has been done by other researchers regarding these concepts. If you are unable to find quantitative indicators of interest concepts, this may be a sign indicating that the qualitative method may be best for you. Qualitative research design methods allow researchers to study concepts that are difficult to measure or have not been measured yet. In other words, Qualitative studies can help researchers understand the depth on a particular field or knowledge.
Difference Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research
The differences between the methods are, firstly, in a different understanding of social reality: quantitative methods rely on the proposition that social reality, like the physical world, is an external, objective, independently existing given. It will simply read a question and answer it objectively without giving an interpretation. While the qualitative methods are based on the subjective result that is not quantifiable.
These two approaches raise different questions; using quantitative surveys to describe phenomena will help in answering close-ended such as when? Who? or how? On the other hand, qualitative surveys aim to study client behaviour through open-ended questions, such as; why it happened? Why this product is more demanding than the other one? These questions can be used to make a choice between qualitative or quantitative research method.
Qualitative Or Quantitative Research Methods – Which method to choose?
It depends on several factors related to the methodology used in your brief:
- Your research questions: What are you trying to demonstrate exactly?
If you want to know how the immigrants lived in Brazil, a qualitative study is more appropriate (individual interviews can be conducted).
- Choose between generality and detail
Do you want to make standardized comparisons (quantitative) or study a particular phenomenon in detail (qualitatively)?
- Research existing writings
How did other researchers treat your subject? Qualitatively or quantitatively? Do you want your research to be in the same line of action?
- Practical Considerations
Think about the time, money, availability of samples and data, the extent to which you know your subject, access to respondents, opportunities for collaboration, etc.
For a quantitative research design, you must take into account that the size of your sample is relevant as your goal is to generalize.
This is not applicable for qualitative study as your sample is smaller.
Do you learn more about your subject if you have a quantitative or qualitative approach? Which approach produces the most useful information?
Often, you can choose to select both the researches using a mixed-methodology design as they can offer more knowledge as well as objective results. For instance, questionnaires and surveys can find the impact of employee dissatisfaction whereas the interviews can explore the reasons for the dissatisfaction.
- Research style
Some researchers prefer one or the other method among the two.
In the end, it is important to say that there is no right and wrong method to choose. You may wish to use one method you are most familiar with, whether qualitative or quantitative research, however, one method cannot be used everywhere. It is your research project, you can decide which method to choose, and which method suits your project best. Moreover, you can seek advice from the experts too. Another tip is to read the previous researches and choose the method that has been used or select the opposite method for the similar research subject. We hope this blog helped you overcome the dilemma on whether to use a qualitative or quantitative research. If you think there is still a confusion, comment below so our tutors can guide you in this spirit.