Similarities and Differences in Quantitative and Qualitative Methods Jemyr E. Gonzalez-Cordero University of Phoenix Research Design RES-722 Patricia Shopland July 25, 2011

and/or observations (Yoshikawa et al. subjective interpretations. 2004). images. Johnson and Christensen (2008) explain qualitative research. 2008). The type of data qualitative research collects includes: words. If quantitative researcher seeks to confirm an existing hypothesis. participant observations. qualitative research seeks to collect information that may support the creation of a hypothesis or invalidate an existing theory (Johnson & Christensen.. Kalil.Similarities and Differences in Quantitative and Qualitative Methods Multiple methods are vital to understanding development as a dynamic and transactional process. Qualitative Method The purpose of qualitative method is to create a robust. Researchers focus on a smaller number of people and spend more time with them. narratives. & Way. or objects. texts. and reflections. This type of design begins with a strong research methodology with quantitative methods that are enhanced with qualitative measures of key processes and outcomes (Condelli & Spruck. field notes. This paper discusses the similarities and differences between quantitative and qualitative research. Weisner. eliciting their thoughts and opinions rather than statistical data or yes-or-no answers (Condelli & Spruck. and human motivations. 2004). interviews. market needs. Quantitative and qualitative methodologies can be combined to enrich developmental science and the study of human development (Yoshikawa. The researcher’s observations. According to Condelli and Spruck (2004) the best research design is a mixed method design that integrates qualitative and quantitative research. consumer trends. . Johnson and Christensen (2008) explain the purpose of qualitative research is to understand & interpret social interactions. responses. detailed description of behavioral patterns. 2008). Qualitative methods collects and analyzes non-numeric representations of the world—words. 2008). pictures. their biases and participants are known by the researcher.

and assess the meaning behind specific variables—and ultimately. The use of qualitative approach often makes most sense in the early stages of a research project. The primary aim of quantitative research is to collect. count. 2006). Their approach is based on numbers and pure data and relies heavily on scientific methods rather than intuition. measure. 2008). 2008).. it is a useful tool for: Understanding how usage of one product or service can be contextualized into a person’s broader lifestyle and belief system. 2008). 2006). or group of people (Johnson & Christensen. The purpose of quantitative method is to test hypotheses. look at cause and effect. Quantitative researchers gather information from a much larger number of representative individuals than their qualitative counterparts. 2008). 2004). or when the goal is to extract information from consumers about the deeply rooted motivations behind why they make particular choices (Johnson & Christensen.interpersonal skills and interview techniques thus figure critically in the process and in the quality and relevance of data collected (Yoshikawa et al. Gauging what the choices they make say about a certain person. . Quantitative researchers typically begin with more clarity behind the questions they want asked – and want answers to (Lichtman. In particular. devise statistical explanations for what the researchers have taught (Yoshikawa et al. and make predictions (Johnson & Christensen. 2008).. Quantitative Method Quantitative method relies primarily on the collection and analysis of numerical information. spending less time with each individual (Condelli & Spruck. in an effort to rebrand a product or service. personal observation or subjective judgment (Lichtman.

and participant characteristics are deliberately hidden from the researcher (double blind studies). as can quantitative data (Yoshikawa et al. quantitative research yields results that are objective and statistically valid (Lichtman.Performed properly. Johnson and Christensen (2008) the role of the quantitative research is the research and their biases are not known to participants in the study.. Sampling Qualitative Words. (2008) about the differences in qualitative and quantitative research method. Qualitative versus Quantitative Method According to Yoshikawa et al. trends. (2008) the important distinction between qualitative and quantitative method is qualitative data can be analyzed through either qualitative or quantitative data analysis techniques. According to Lichtman (2006) quantitative research example includes: Measuring awareness and usage of a product. Also. According to Lichtman (2006). product usage. the results of those studies generalizable findings that can be applied to other populations (Lichtman. Johnson and Christensen (2008). 2006). (2004). female doctors are significantly more likely to prescribe anti-depressant medication than male doctors. 2008). The following table is an example according to Condelli and Spruck. product consumption. Measuring and segmenting the market for a specific product and opportunities for a new product or service (Lichtman. not variables Quantitative Numbers and statistics Specific variables studied Larger & randomly selected . or objects Study of the whole. service or brand across a large audience. Quantitative research is the method of choice when the object is to measure and analyze concepts.. and other variables with mathematical precision. Statistically validating a hypothesis—e. 2006). 2006). Lichtman (2006) and Yoshikawa et al. images. Johnson and Christensen (2008) add quantitative data based on precise measurements using structured and validated data-collection instruments.g..

situational. and direct quotations from research participants. Focus Observation Nature of Reality Conclusion Conclusion The world is not inherently qualitative or quantitative. Generalizable findings that can be applied to other populations. 2008). isolate causal effects. Explore. Study behavior under controlled conditions. it is the act of human representation through numbers or non-numeric signifiers like words that make aspects of the scientific enterprise qualitative or quantitative (Yoshikawa et al. examines the breadth and depth of phenomena Study behavior in a natural environment. Dynamic. discover. subjective Narrative report with contextual description.Results Method Research Objectives Smaller & not randomly selected Particular or specialized findings that is less generalizable. Confirmatory or top-down: the researcher tests the hypothesis and theory with the data.. and predict. Single reality. social. explain. & construct Wide-angle lens. Narrow-angle lens. and personal. Multiple realities. Exploratory or bottom–up: the researcher generates a new hypothesis and theory from the data collected. Regular and predictable. objective Statistical report with correlations. Describe. and statistical significance of findings. . comparisons of means. tests specific hypotheses.

Educational research: Quantitative.1037/0012-1649. (2008). qualitative. M. (2008). Kalil. CA: Sage Publications. T.. H. (2004. & Way. Thousand Oaks.344 . 344–354. England. H.References Condelli..2. S. Weisner. CA: Sage Publications. N. Yoshikawa. 44. and mixed approaches. Loughborough. (2006). doi: 10. & Spruck.. L. Johnson. March). Mixing Qualitative and Quantitative Research in Developmental Science: Uses and Methodological Choices. Thousand Oaks. Paper presented at the Second International Conference for Adult Literacy and Numeracy.. Qualitative research in education: A user’s guide. A.44. B. Lichtman.. L. & Christensen. Developmental Psychology. Real World Research: Combining Qualitative and Quantitative Research for Adult ESL.

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