There has been a large amount of complex discussion and argument surrounding the topic of research methodology and the theory of how studies should push forward. Majority of this debate has centered on the issue of qualitative versus quantitative study. Different methods become popular at different social, political, historical and cultural times in our development, and, both methods have their strengths and weaknesses. The researcher and/or the culture of the organization is a key factor in preferred choice of methods.
Data can be quantitative or qualitative. Quantitative data answer questions like “how many?” or “how frequently”, and are measured/reported on a numerical scale, permitting categorization of pooled data, numerical reporting, statistical analysis and mathematical modeling. Qualitative data are non-numerical. Qualitative research seeks to analyze verbal discourse through interviews, written documents, or participatory field observations.
This paper will break down both qualitative and quantitative methods individually to explain each one in depth. Also a chart will be included to understand and see the features of each side by side. In conclusion of the paper will be an example of both methods being used to understand how women felt about shopping at QuickStop stores and why.
As researchers Ulin, Robinson, and Tolley (2006) have explained, three most common qualitative methods are “participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups” (p.2. * Participant observation is appropriate for collecting data on naturally occurring behaviors in their usual contexts. * In –depth interviews are optimal for collecting data on individuals’ personal histories, perspectives, and experiences, particularly when sensitive topics are being explored. * Focus groups are effective in eliciting data on the cultural norms of a group and in generating broad overviews of issues of concern to the cultural groups or subgroups represented. Qualitative methods are typically more flexible and allow more interaction between the researcher and the study participant. For example, qualitative methods, ask mostly “open-ended” questions that are not necessarily worded in exactly the same way with each participant. In regards to open-ended questions, participants are free to respond in their own words rather than simply “yes” or “no.” Also in qualitative methods, the relationship between the researcher and the participant is often less formal than in quantitative research. Participants have the opportunity to respond more elaborately and in greater detail than is typically the case with quantitative methods. Open-ended questions have the ability to provide responses that are: * Meaningful and culturally salient to the participant
* Unanticipated by the researcher
* Rich and explanatory in nature
The three most common sampling methods in qualitative research: purposive sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling. Purposive sampling, one of the most common sampling strategies, groups participants according to preselected criteria relevant to a particular research question. In quota sampling, while designing the study how many people with characteristics to include as participants. The criteria used is to focus on people that we think would be most likely to experience, know about, or have insights into the research topic. A third type of sampling, snowballing also known as chain referral sampling. In this method, participants with whom contact has already been made use their social networks to refer the researcher to other people who could potentially participate in or contribute to the study.
According to Carroll (2010), “qualitative studies frequently use primary data (e.g., interviews), others involve analysis of media reports and other secondary data sources. For example, community attitudes about road safety might be explored through interviews...