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INTRODUCTION TO

QUALITATIVE VS
QUANTITATIVE
RESEARCH

Objectives

to expose students with quantitative and


qualitative research
to demonstrate how quantitative
research is different from qualitative
research
to explain how they can work together

Two Approaches to research


Qualitative

emphasizes natural
settings, observations,
verbal narratives and
interpretations.
emerged from
sociology
Takes a lot of practice
to do it well.

Quantitative

Emphasizes numbers,
measurements,
controls and
experimentation.
This is the traditional
scientific research.
Once you understand
the basic rules,
anyone can do it.

Qual vs. Quant (Goals)


Qualitative

Build theory
Develop
understanding
Describe multiply
realities
Capture naturally
occurring behaviour
Insider meaning
Interpretation of
behaviour

Quantitative

Test hypothesis
Establish facts
Show relationships
Predict
Statistically describe
Outsider meaning
Prediction of
behaviour

Qual vs. Quant (Design)


Qualitative

Evolving
Flexible
Informal
General
Naturalistic
Gives a complete
detailed
description

Quantitative

Structured
Predetermined
Formal
Specific
Summarizes and
categorizes
observations

Qual vs. Quant (Design)


Qualitative

Design emerges
during study
Ends with
hypotheses and
theory
Time consuming

Quantitative

Design is explicit
and clear in
advance
Begins with
hypotheses and
theory
Efficient

Qual vs. Quant (Sample)


Qualitative

Small
Nonrepresentative
Purposeful

Quantitative

Large
Representative
Random selection

Qual vs. Quant (Data)


Qualitative

Verbal
descriptions
Field notes
Observations
Documents
Photographs
Narrative

Quantitative

Quantities
Counts
Measures
Instruments
Numbers
Statistics

Qual vs. Quant (Methods)


Qualitative

Case study
Ethnographies
Verbal Protocol
Analysis

Quantitative

Experiments
quasiexperiments
Surveys

Qual vs. Quant (Examples)


Qualitative

Studying the
behaviors of the
football fans by
attending the
football game as to
observe, participate
and understand the
phenomenon.

Quantitative

Survey that
concludes that the
average patient has
to wait two hours in
the waiting room of
a certain doctor
before being
selected.

Mixed Methods
If you want statistical validity, combine
qualitative and quantitative methods.
Involve different combination of
Qualitative and Quantitative methods at
the level of:
1) Data collection
2) Data Analysis
Example: A combination of questionnaire
and interview

Which method is the best?

The problem you are studying


determines which approach to take.
One is not better than the other.
In general, qualitative research is better
for exploring, understanding and
uncovering while quantitative research
is better for confirming and clarifying.

References:

Creswell, John W. (2002). Educational


Research: Planning, Conducting, and
Evaluating Quantitative and Qualitative
Research. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.
Fraenkel, J. R. & Wallen, N. E. (2006). How
To Design and Evaluate Research in
Education. New York: McGraw Hill.