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qualitative and quantitative approaches

So what is the difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative


Qualitative Research

is primarily exploratory research. It is used to gain an

understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights
into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative
research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and
opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods
vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods
include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and
participation/observations. The sample size is typically small, and respondents are
selected to fulfill a given quota.

Quantitative Research

is used to quantify the problem by way of

generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into useable statistics. It
is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables and
generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses
measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. Quantitative
data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection
methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys
online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face
interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online
polls, and systematic observations.

Quantitative research
What is it?
Quantitative research is a more logical and data-led approach which provides a
measure of what people think from a statistical and numerical point of view. For
example, if you wanted to know how many of your customers support a proposed
change in your products or service and how strongly (on a scale) they support it.
Quantitative research can gather a large amount of data that can be easily
organised and manipulated into reports for analysis.
How to do it
Quantitative research largely uses methods such as questionnaires and surveys
with set questions and answers that respondents tick from a predefined selection.
Answers can be measured in strengths of feeling such as strongly agree disagree
or numbers such as scales out of 10.
This form of research is very flexible in terms of how its carried out such as
through the post, online or even over the phone. If you are carrying out research,
make sure that you have a fair cross section of respondents and that you have
enough of them to provide a greater range of reliable data.
To help gain willing participants, companies often offer incentives such as free
products or financial remuneration for their time.
Qualitative Research
What is it?
Unlike quantitative research which relies on numbers and data, qualitative research
is more focused on how people feel, what they think and why they make certain
For example, if you are thinking of changing your branding you would carry out
qualitative research to see what emotional reactions people have to the new
identity and what they associate it with.
How to do it
Qualitative research is largely led with discussion around certain concepts or ideas
with open questioning. Attendees are encouraged to explain or describe their
reasons for having certain responses which can reveal underlying motivations,
associations and behavioural triggers.
The most common forms of qualitative research consist of focus groups relevant to
the target market or one to one interviews, conducted face to face or over the
1. Goal or Aim of the Research
The primary aim of a Qualitative Research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research
topic. It is usually more exploratory in nature.
Quantitative Research on the other hand focuses more in counting and classifying features and
constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed.
Read also: Aims of Research






Whole picture


Type of Research



2. Usage
Qualitative Research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the
research project, Quantitative Research is highly recommended. Quantitative Research provides the
researcher a clearer picture of what to expect in his research compared to Qualitative Research.






3. Data Gathering Instrument

The researcher serves as the primary data gathering instrument in Qualitative Research. Here, the
researcher employs various data-gathering strategies, depending upon the thrust or approach of his
research. Examples of data-gathering strategies used in Qualitative Research are individual in-depth
interviews, structured and non-structured interviews, focus groups, narratives, content or documentary
analysis, participant observation and archival research.
On the other hand, Quantitative Research makes use of tools such as questionnaires, surveys,
measurements and other equipment to collect numerical or measurable data.
4. Type of Data
The presentation of data in a Qualitative Research is in the form of words (from interviews) and images
(videos) or objects (such as artifacts). If you are conducting a Qualitative Research what will most likely
appear in your discussion are figures in the form of graphs. However, if you are conducting a Quantitative
Research, what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of
numbers and statistics.

5. Approach
Qualitative Research is primarily subjective in approach as it seeks to understand human behavior and
reasons that govern such behavior. Researchers have the tendency to become subjectively immersed in
the subject matter in this type of research method.
In Quantitative Research, researchers tend to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. This
is because Quantitative Research is objective in approach in the sense that it only seeks precise
measurements and analysis of target concepts to answer his inquiry.

Surf the internet and download information on

models of action research

Action Research Model

Tips for Working Through the Action

Research Cycle
Step 1: Identify
Identify the current level of student performance (baseline)
using multiple data sources.

Potential Sources:
Existing archival data within a school
Classroom and school observations
Surveys and questionnaires

Exhibits, portfolios, etc.

Test results

Inventories and checklists


Visual recordings and photography

Journals and diaries

Identify desired student outcomes or the the level of

performance your team would like to see students reach:
By having in mind the outcomes or performance you want students to reach you may be able to better determine the
evidence that will clearly show current levels of performance and help you think about appropriate measures to determine
effectiveness later.

Identify Instructional resources:

Identify the resources that are already available and ones you need to help address the problem of concern (Instructional
Knowledge, Instructional Relationships, Instructional Tools and Materials, and Organization Structures). Download
Instructional Resources Graphic here.

Identify your own professional learning needs:

Seek professional learning experiences that are aimed at constructing knowledge and skills for helping you to
design and implement an intervention that will address the problem.
Look for a close relationship between what the PD offers and solutions to the problem
Check the research is there evidence of positive outcomes for the PD?
Attend professional development

Step 2: Design and Implement

Design an intervention that is informed by your professional
learning experiences.
Design a researchable question that is:

A higher-order question not a yes/no

Stated in common language, avoiding jargon


Not already have an answer (review the research literature )

For most situations where an intervention or change is made, the research question takes on some form of, "how

effective is [the intervention] in helping our students reach the desired outcomes?
Design assessments (three different types) to gather evidence on student learning. Triangulation between data

sources will provide confirmation of your findings (example: journals, projects & surveys).
Ask if the tools you have selected will assess student learning that will determine the effectiveness of the

intervention and the research question. If not, look for other types of assessment.
Plan when you will assess student learning

Implement the intervention

Step 3: Collect Data

Decide when you will collect the data. Try to collect data during various stages of the project.

Step 4: Analyze
Action researchers analyze data to summarize it dependably
and accurately. Techniques depend on the type of data

Identify themes patterns that emerge and repeat

Code and sort results from surveys and interviews

Ask key questions: who, what, where, when & how

Identify needed data and unanswered questions

Data Interpretation - Techniques for teacher researchers

Extend analysis by raising more questions about the study

Compare findings with your personal experience as an educator

Collaborate teamwork increases perspectives

Seek context in related literature

Turn to theory

Step 5: Reflect, Revise & Repeat

Reflect individually and in collaboration with your team on what you learned from the first cycle of action

Use the data findings and interpretation of the data to revise the intervention for the next cycle of action

Revisions can include a new direction of focus based on evidence from student learning, additional professional

development, methods for assessing student learning, length of the intervention etc.
Repeat the cycle of action research.
Prepare to report your findings.