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Difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods

Research is the process of gathering and evaluating data to understand phenomena better and create new knowledge or the innovative application of current knowledge. The procedure can be as simple as observation or as sophisticated as trying out a new idea. There are different methods of conducting a research, and the primary two standards ways are qualitative and quantitative methods. The choice of method highly depends on the type of data used for the study.

Qualitative Research method

Qualitative research collects and analyzes non-numerical data to understand concepts, opinions, or experiences better. It can be used to build a thorough understanding of a subject or to generate new research ideas. Qualitative research employs various techniques, including focus group discussion, individual interviews, participation, or observation. One could, for instance, conduct an online prescription refill survey and inquire? How many times did you utilize an online prescription service refill in the last month? Whether once, twice, three times, or more than five times. Additionally, you may ask how likely you are to recommend an online prescription service to a friend. Whether highly likely, somewhat likely, or unlikely, and neutral.

Quantitative research Method

Quantitative research comprises the generation of numeric information from the data that may be transformed into usable statistics to quantify a situation. It is used to evaluate attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other well-defined qualities and generalize results from a broader population sample. Quantitative research employs quantifiable data to generate facts and detect trends. For example, ask a satisfied customer of a given bank how satisfied they are with the bank on a scale of one to ten. You examine the data and determine how satisfied consumers are with the bank on a general level.

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods

Qualitative research is a method used in the social and human sciences to understand better how people feel and think (Jovanovic, 2018). While quantitative research is the systematic and empirical approach to collecting numerical data using statistical, logical, and mathematical instruments.

Qualitative research is subjective by nature, as the researcher is closely involved. In comparison, quantitative research is objective since the researcher is not involved and seeks to be as accurate as possible with their observations and analyses on the topic to address the query.

In qualitative research, purposeful sampling is done to select a limited sample size to properly comprehend the subject (Rutberg, S., & Bouikidis, 2018). On the other hand, quantitative research is based on randomly chosen; a representative population sample is selected to generalize the findings to the entire population.

In-depth interviews, focus groups, individual interviews, and involvement are all techniques utilized in qualitative research. In comparison, quantitative analysis employs systematic interviews and observations. Qualitative research collects verbal data. On the other side, quantitative analysis collects quantifiable data. Finally, qualitative research employs inductive thinking to synthesize data, whereas quantitative analysis employs deductive reasoning.

Most of the time, good research uses both methodologies simultaneously. However, some topics require only one research style, which primarily depends on the information requested by the researcher.


Jovanovic, F. (2018). A comparison between qualitative and quantitative histories: the example of the efficient market hypothesis. Journal of Economic Methodology, 25(4), 291-310.

Rutberg, S., & Bouikidis, C. D. (2018). Focusing on the fundamentals: A simplistic differentiation between qualitative and quantitative research. Nephrology Nursing Journal, 45(2), 209-213.

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