The Difference between Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Topics: Decision making, Cognition, Flipism Pages: 15 (4558 words) Published: May 11, 2013
The interview carried out for this study shows that how rational decision making is a valid model even though it may not be applied to its fullest and most rationalist extent. The steps of a traditional decision making process can be loosely applied due to the bounded rationality, information overload concepts coupled with the experiential aspect of the consumer behaviour. Accordingly, the paper first presents the methodology used in the study and then presents the related theories that exist in the literature. Finally after carrying the interview the findings that are closely linked to those studies are shared. As expected the findings showed that rational decision making and experiential approach to the consumer behaviour are intertwined. They act hand on hand coupled up with the bounded rationality and information overload aspects, as well.

If data gathering methodology is considered, there are two main alternatives: Quantitative Research (which is mostly acquainted with surveys) and Qualitative Research which can be seen as a methodology type not including quantitative data (Gill and Johnson, 2010) (and which covers interviews). These two alternatives widely differ from each other regarding the information collection. With questionnaires even though the main advantage is presented as having more generalizability with some statistical power, it short comes at collecting detailed/deep information. With information a specific issue can be understood thoroughly and lets the researcher to understand wider range of topics not fixing on firmly structured questions as it is the case in quantitative research (Schwab, 2005). Accordingly, in order to be able to understand the decision making process for a holiday, an interview with a grad student is carried. An interview guide was followed to be able to cover the main points of the interview which focused on information sources the interviewee used, decision criteria that he took into account etc. The interview was a semi-structured since the interview was allowed to carry away in order to be able to understand the area of interest much more in detailed and see what interviewee experienced during the whole decision making process (Hesse-Biber and Leavy, 2011). But of course the interview was carried in a way to make it sure that the conversation did not deviate too much from the main topic.

A decision for a product or service reflects the selection of an alternative among two or more options. The process can either be an extensive problem solving, or limited, or a routinized responsive behavior and which to take place comes from importance of the decision, the experience with the product or service so far, the information the customer has already and also whether there is an emotional model (Schiffman et al. 2008). Emotions become important if deep feelings/emotions present within decision making process and sometimes even lead to impulse purchases as emotional decisions depend on the current emotional state and less on prepurchase information (Schiffman et al. 2008). All in all, according to Solomon et al (2010) the traditional decision making process proposed 5 stages of decision making process which is comprised of (Solomon et al, 2010): * Problem recognition – when consumer realizes that there is a gap between the desired state versus the present state; creating a problem for the consumer to be solved * Information search – consumer applies to internal and external courses in order to correct enough information to be able to reach a decision * Evaluation of alternatives – the options at hand are dwelled upon * Product choice – a certain product is chosen after evaluation stage * Outcomes – involves whether the consumer is satisfied and the latter stages This model is criticized with being too rational and economic view oriented. It suggests that consumers evaluate all the...
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