Qualitative and Quantitative Research Business May 12, Qualitative and Quantitative Research Research in general fundamentallydepends on systematic measurements, examination and interpretation of both statistical and non-statistical data. Qualitative and quantitative researches are the core disciplines of research, and understanding them is a vital tool in carrying out a perfect research. This paper seeks to differentiate between qualitative and quantitative research methods, and illustrate the most applicable method in a given situation. Quantitative and qualitative research methods differ from each other in the objective, approach, sample size, method of data collection and analysis, and conclusion.
The rationale of quantitative study is to quantify information and provide an overview of the outcomes from a sample to the population of importance. The researcher remains impartially separated from the question or issue investigated in order to obtain an accurate measurements and analysis from respondent. In this case, the sample is normally a large number of cases selected to represent the population of importance. The researcher selects respondents randomly and uses structured questionnaire or interview to obtain the numerical data. The respondents can fill the questionnaires through online, post or on-street interviews.
The data gathered are analyzed statistically in the form of graphs, and the results are conclusive and explanatory in nature. In quantitative research, the conclusion obtained from graphical interpretation is usually stated with high a degree of certainty (Dawson, 2002). When a researcher chooses to have bank customers fill questionnaire indicating the number of hours they queue in the banking hall of a certain bank before they are selected, is a good example of quantitative research. Through analysis of data obtained, a researcher can be able to conclude that the average customer has to wait for a certain numbers of hours before being attended.
This method of research is useful where the hypothesis is clearly stated before the start of an investigation. On the other hand, the objective of qualitative research is to gain the perceptive and provide insights into the background of human behavior. It considers a small number of cases, which do not represent the population of interest. The researcher selects the respondents purposely and tends to be subjective to the matter in question in order to comprehend human behavior.
Since, qualitative research also investigates attitudes, occurrences, and manners it involves the use of unstructured interviews or questionnaires to collect data. In this case, the verbal data cannot be analyzed statistically. The results obtained cannot be used to make an overview about the population of importance instead; they provide preliminary understanding for additional decision-making (Dawson, 2002). A researcher can apply this method to study the management skills of employees by working with them and acting as an instructor. This provides a better chance to understand the management skills and motivations of employees that cannot be obtained through filling of questionnaires.
Qualitative research is applied in cases where the hypothesis is not known clearly, and a researcher is not sure of the best way to obtain information. In conclusion, a researcher can choose to use either qualitative or quantitative research methods depending on the subject of interest. Qualitative research is mostly used in studying human behavior, and the data are usually in verbal forms that cannot be analyzed statistically. While, quantitative research entails the use of statistics in analyzing the arithmetical data collected during research.
Both methods are equally important, and they have their strong and weak points. The quantitative research reaches many respondents and provides a quick response than qualitative because it involves the use of a structured questionnaire. References Dawson, C. (2002). Practical Research Methods: A User-friendly Guide to Mastering Research Techniques and Projects 3nd ed. United Kingdom: How to Books Ltd