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Differentiating Between Qualitative & Quantitative

In research, there are two types of research to discuss, qualitative and quantitative research. Qualitative research involves both collecting and analyzing non-numerical data. They examine this to help understand concepts, experiences and opinions. It can be used to gather insight into problems or generate new ideas for research. Qualitative research is used to understand how people experience the world. While there are many approaches to qualitative research, they tend to be flexible and focus on retaining rich meaning when interpreting data (Bhandari, 2020).

Common approaches include grounded theory, ethnography, action research, phenomenological research, and narrative research. They share some similarities, but emphasize different aims and perspectives (Bhandari, 2020). Some of the most common methods used in qualitative research are,observations, interviews, focus groups, surveys and secondary research (Bhandari, 2020).

Qualitative data can take the form of texts, photos, videos and audio. There are five steps that most types of qualitative data analysis takes. Step one is preparing and organizing your data. This may involve transcribing an interview or typing out notes. Step two is to review and explore the data found. Step three is developing a data coding system. This is when you establish a set of codes that you can use to categorize the data you have. Step four is assigning codes to the actual data. Lastly, step five is to identify any recurring themes. There are several specific approaches to analyzing qualitative data. Although these methods share similar processes, they emphasize different concepts (Bhandari, 2020).

Qualitative research often tries to preserve the voice and perspective of participants and can be adjusted as new research questions arise. Qualitative research is beneficial in flexibility, natural settings, meaningful insight and generation of new ideas (Bhandari, 2020). Qualitative research is more flexible rather than fixed (Maxwell, 2018). There are also disadvantages of qualitative research, which includes unreliability, subjectivity, limited generalizability, and labor intensive (Bhandari, 2020).

Qualitative research involves the collection and analysis of narratives and/or open-ended observations through methodologies such as interviews, focus groups or ethnographies (Ahmad, 2019).

Quantitative research involves both collecting and analyzing numerical data for a statistical analysis. You can use quantitative research methods for descriptive, correlational or experimental research. In descriptive research, you simply seek an overall summary of your study variables. In correlational research, you investigate relationships between your study variables. In experimental research, you systematically examine whether there is a cause-and-effect relationship between variables (Bhandari, 2020).

To collect quantitative data, you will often need to use operational definitions that translate abstract concepts into observable and quantifiable measures. Once data is collected, you may need to process it before it can be analyzed. Descriptive statistics will give you a summary of your data and include measures of averages and variability. You can also use graphs, scatter plots and frequency tables to visualize your data and check for any trends or outliers (Bhandari, 2020).

Quantitative research is a way to learn about a particular group of people, known as a sample population. Using scientific inquiry, quantitative research relies on data that are observed or measured to examine questions about the sample population (Ahmad, 2019).


Ahmad, S. (2019). Qualitative vs quantitative research. Journal of Evidence Based Medicine and Healthcare, 6(43). Retrieved 2022, from…

Bhandari, P. (2020, July 30). What is Qualitative Research?: Methods & Examples. Retrieved October 18, 2020, from…

Maxwell, J. A. (2018). Qualitative research design: An interactive approach. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.

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