Charles Stuart University
Compare and Contrast Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods
Qualitative research methods are complex meaningful analysis characterised by processes and meanings that are not experimentally examined or measured in terms of mathematical measurements (Lincoln, 2003; Sarantakos, 2005). Quantitative research however, relies and builds on mathematical procedures and methods, such as frequency, quality, amount and statistical procedure. This paper will compare and contrast both qualitative and quantitative research methods endeavouring to highlight differences and similarities between the two methods.
Qualitative analysis is a detailed, focused and deep process that seeks to find meaning in social experience (Burton 2007/2010). Qualitative analysis adds emphasis to questions that stress ‘how’ or ‘what meaning’ is created and given to certain situations. This is done using ethnographic style, first person accounts, and biographical and autobiographical materials (Sarantakos, 2005). Qualitative research has an interpretative approach and is subjective. This style of research often sees the researcher spending many hours in direct personal contact with those being studied. This style of research is often referred to as an interpretative researcher; observing and recording amounts of information and understanding the meaning in regards to everyday life (Neuman, 2006).
Quantitative research methods involve data that has numerical meaning, a measurement, such as height, weight, blood pressure or a particular score (Howell, 2008). The emphasis in this research method is on measurement and the understanding of the relationship between variables (Lincoln, 2003). Quantitative analysis therefore relies and builds on mathematical procedures, such as frequency, mode, median, amount and statistical procedure. The research is then usually... [continues]
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