1) What are the differences between quantitative and qualitative methods in the social sciences? What are the advantages and disadvantages of each method?
Quantitative and qualitative are both important research techniques to consider in criminology today. Quantitative methods produce measureable results and they can also be analyzed to produce statistics. Qualitative methods on the other hand, produce subjective results that can be difficult to quantify. Below we will exam the advantages and disadvantages of each method. Quantitative methods provide numerous ways to obtain data that are useful to many ways. The use of quantitative methods such as survey research, field research, and evaluation research as well as others, help criminologists to gather reliable and valid data helpful in the field of criminology. However it does leave a void where attitudes, feelings, behaviors, and perceptions are concerned. Because they are very difficult to accurate quantify they are subject to artificial techniques for their quantification. Qualitative methods have the advantage of allowing criminologists to be deductive in stating their hypotheses and research questions from an established theory. This allows criminologists to test theories and examine relationships for cause and effects. This technique is particularly helpful during the interview of a potential suspect. The disadvantage is that feelings, circumstances, experiences, and behaviors differ from person to person and it’s not an exact science. In summary each type of research has its place in criminology today. By combining both quantitative and qualitative researchers can avoid setting up mental barriers to each method, which may cause pigeonholing of certain types of research.
Criminology Today An Integrative Introduction 5th Edition Pearson 2009