You are on page 1of 1


The simplest definition is that qualitative methods involve the collection and analysis of information based on its
quality and NOT quantity. They are methods in which the results are primarily conveyed in visual or verbal form to establish
context. They use un-constructed logic to unravel the meaning of research. This means there are no step-by step rules, terms or
procedures that must be followed. Qualitative methods are often referred to as subjective.

There are a large number of different methods, some of which include:

• Discourse Analysis - study of words and phrases used in communication, often revealing hidden or implied meaning.
• Ethnography - detailed study of social functioning of a group, tribe or organisation.
• Action Research - methodology where the researcher is also an active participant in the process being studied as well
as an observer
• Oral History - account from a living person of a past event or series of events
• Participant Observation - the researcher manipulate a group or participants in a study, either from within the group, or
external to it
• Feminist Research - methodologies which focus on the role of women in society and the economy.


Quantitative methods are research methods concerned with numbers and anything that is quantifiable. They are therefore to be
distinguished from qualitative methods The qualitative method in sociology is a research method. It deliberatively gives up on
quantity in order to reach a depth in analysis of the object studied. It uses different techniques doing so. Focus groups, content
analysis, participant observation and participation are some of the most important.
Qualitative methods are commonly used in conjunction with quantitative methods. Using qualitative methods it is often possible
to understand the meaning of the numbers produced by quantitative methods.
Counting and measuring are common forms of quantitative methods. The result of the research is a number, or a series of
numbers. These are often presented in tables, graphs or other forms of statistics.
Statistics is the science and practice of developing human knowledge through the use of empirical data. It is based on statistical
theory which is a branch of applied mathematics. Within statistical theory, randomness and uncertainty are modelled by
probability theory. Because one aim of statistics is to produce the "best" information from available data, some authors consider
statistics a branch of decision theory. Statistical practice includes the planning, summarizing, and interpreting of observations,
allowing for variability and uncertainty.
Examples of quantitative methods include:

• Psychometrics - tasks aimed at assessing personality or certain managerial qualities, eg leadership ability
• Experimental Design - methods to test hypotheses in positivist approaches.
• Statistics and data analysis - study of the relationship between numbers representing social and economic activities
• Statistical Theory - hypotheses that are topically and internally consistent about the relationships between members
representing social and economic activities
• Statistical Modelling Techniques - ways of representing by numbers the relationship between different social and
economic activities
• Datasets and Services - numbers that represent economic and social activities and ways to make them available for
secondary analysis
• Statistical Computing and Methodology - ways of using software to model concepts and data