Jared P.
Jared P.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research – Pros and Cons

9 min read

Published on: Jan 30, 2020

Last updated on: Jan 20, 2023

Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

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When collecting and evaluating the data for a research paper, always use qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative research is a type of data analysis that understands people by asking them questions. The goal is to understand better how the person feels about a subject. Quantitative research uses numbers and data to figure out things.

However, choosing the right research method can be difficult, especially if you do not know their difference. Below is the detailed guide that helps you select the best one for your research project.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Definition

There are two different types of research design, i.e., qualitative and quantitative. Qualitative and quantitative research methods are used when collecting the data for a research paper.

These two complementary methods are used in your surveys to get better results for the research paper.

Qualitative Research Definition

Qualitative research is primarily exploratory research. It collects non-numerical data that is more natural and demonstrative.

Qualitative data comes from a wide range of sources, such as;

  • Observation
  • Focus groups
  • Interviews
  • Documents

Moreover, it gathers in-depth knowledge on topics and understands concepts, thoughts, and experiences. Use sensory methods such as observing and listening to collect and organize data into themes. The sample size is smaller as compared to quantitative research.

Qualitative research’s main purpose is to understand the culture, social groups, and communities.

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Quantitative Research Definition

Quantitative research deals with numbers and figures. The data is structured and statistical, but its results are objective and conclusive.

The main purpose of quantitative research is to test a theory and understand the social world. Communication researchers and social scientists mainly use this method to observe phenomena or occurrences affecting individuals.

Data collection for this type of research could include a few different methods like;

  • Surveys
  • Questionnaires
  • Experiments
  • Database reports

Questionnaires can be used in many different ways to gather data. But one of the most popular techniques is through question-and-answer formats. This type of question will give either yes or no answers, which are converted into counts for analysis purposes.

The data collection methods of quantitative research are more structured than qualitative research.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Outcomes

One difference between qualitative and quantitative studies is the kind of information and the outcome. Qualitative researchers want to learn from the details of what people say. They talk to a lot of people and then compare what they say to figure out why things happen.

Quantitative researchers, on the other hand, are mostly interested in figuring out how things are related. For example, whether one thing causes another thing.

What Is a Common Goal of Qualitative and Quantitative Research?

Qualitative and quantitative data are both used to find relationships between elements in data. Qualitative data can help support existing theories, and quantitative data can help develop new ones. The researcher must decide which type of research will be best for achieving the study's goals.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Questions

The research questions determine which methodology you used for your research paper. It gives direction to your research paper.

Qualitative research questions and quantitative research questions are different. They both have some standards, but you need to decide which one is most appropriate for your research paper.

Here are some qualitative and quantitative research questions.

Qualitative Research QuestionsQualitative Research Questions
What is the average frequency of visits by 40 to 50 to their parents?How regularly do you go abroad for a holiday?
How could your favorite cafe or coffee shop improve?What is the relationship between age and food preferences in London?
Can a stressful work environment lead to employees quitting their jobs?Is there a relationship between age and fitness level?

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Methods

The data you collect can significantly impact the outcome of your research paper. You need to choose an appropriate methodology that will give meaningful results for qualitative and quantitative inquiries. Thus, take some time to determine which one is best suited for achieving your goal with minimal effort.

Take a look at the qualitative and quantitative research methods and choose the best one according to your research question.

Qualitative Data Collection Methodology

There are many ways to collect qualitative data, but these methods have been surveyed as the most popular.

  • Focus Groups

Focus groups collect information from a small group of people about a specific issue or topic. It is considered a type of interview where the participants can agree or disagree with each other's opinions.

With focus groups, the researchers get an idea of how a particular group of people perceives the topic. This research method helps the researchers analyze what people think about an issue, their opinions, beliefs, and experiences.

  • Interviews

An interview is the most effective data collection method for qualitative research. It involves a one-on-one conversation with a single person at a time. It is also known as an informal interview.

The interview questionnaire is designed to gather information from the participant about a specific topic.

Similarly, the questions are open-ended and help develop the person’s understanding of a situation.

  • Ethnography

In an ethnography research method, the researcher observes, interacts, and participates in a community or organization. Study the participant's culture and behavior.

The main purpose of this method is to observe the culture and behavior closely. Most researchers use an ethnography research method and collect detailed information for their research project.

  • Case Study

The case study methodology is a valuable method of conducting qualitative research. The case studies are either descriptive or explanatory. Moreover, this research method is used in social sciences, education, etc.

Keep these types of qualitative research in mind when you start your research phase.

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Quantitative Data Collection Methods

Below are the commonly used quantitative data collection methods.

  • Surveys/ Questionnaire

The survey is the most commonly used quantitative research method. Surveys can be open-ended or closed-ended, depending on what information you need from your participants.

Researchers create surveys using online survey software. However, some researchers use mail surveys to collect data and to understand participants' points of view.

  • Observation

Observation is the most basic form of data collection. Use this method when you need to observe and document specific behaviors in a structured manner. Without involving yourself too much with participants' personal lives or opinions.

  • Content Analysis

This method is used to collect data after reviewing the existing documents. The researchers looked at the documents and chose which ones they wanted to use for their research paper topic. They then interpreted what the documents meant to them and put it into their research paper.

  • Probability Sampling

In this method, the data is collected randomly from the selected sample. Here are three main types of probability sampling that you can use for your research paper:

  • Systematic random sampling
  • Simple random sampling
  • Stratified random sampling

Advantages of Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Both qualitative research vs. quantitative research plays a vital role in product development. Moreover, these two methods have some advantages that help you in selecting the best research design.

Here are some benefits of qualitative and quantitative research.

Advantages of Qualitative Research

  • It focuses on the subjective cultural aspects of organizations.
  • It is good for exploratory research and hypothesis generation.
  • Clarify the role of researchers in producing organizational accounts.
  • It does not need a strict research design.
  • It builds new theories and explores new areas of research.

Advantages of Quantitative Research

  • It is easier to summarize and make comparisons.
  • Allow the researcher to do quantitative analysis and measure the data.
  • Easily get information from a large sample of the population.
  • The research can also be done remotely.
  • The hypothesis can be tested in experiments.
  • Data can be analyzed quickly.

Disadvantages of Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Here are some disadvantages of qualitative research vs. quantitative research. Have a look at them to understand better.

Disadvantages of Qualitative Research

  • It is not easily replicable.
  • It is a time-taking process and requires a lot of planning.
  • It generates a vast amount of data that can be difficult to analyze.
  • The data can be analyzed on the basis of biased opinions.

Disadvantages of Quantitative Research

  • A large sample of the population must be studied for accurate results.
  • Quantitative experiments can be difficult and expensive.
  • It is a time taking research process.
  • It cannot study data in natural settings.

When to Use Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Research?

The researcher uses either one or both qualitative or quantitative methods for their research. It depends on the research scope and topic.

Below are some steps that will help you better understand using each method in a research paper.

  • Qualitative research is used when you want to test or confirm something. It goes deeper and collects relevant data for the research paper.
  • Quantitative research is used to retrieve data from a large population.
  • Through quantitative research, you can gather data from in-depth interviews or observations.
  • With the help of open-ended questions, you can get accurate results for your qualitative research paper.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research Examples

The following are some examples to give you a clear idea of quantitative vs qualitative research.

If you want to do research, get to know about qualitative or quantitative research is very important. We hope this guide will help you in choosing the right method for your research project.

Sometimes, choosing the best research methodology for your research paper becomes a challenging task. So, without thinking too much, consult a professional essay writer at FreeEssayWriter.net.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are 3 examples of qualitative data?

Here are the three main examples of qualitative data.

  • Documents
  • Video recordings
  • Case studies
Jared P.


Jared P. (Literature, Education)

Jared P. is a renowned author and writing service provider with over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry. He has a Ph.D. degree in English Literature and has spent his entire career helping students achieve their academic goals by providing expert writing assistance.

Jared P. is a renowned author and writing service provider with over fifteen years of experience in the publishing industry. He has a Ph.D. degree in English Literature and has spent his entire career helping students achieve their academic goals by providing expert writing assistance.

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