An assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of Quantitative research methods.

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Quantitative data is data in a numerical form- in the form of numbers. Qualitative data spans a range of material from the descriptions of social life provided by participant observation and unstructured interviews to information from written sources.

Quantitative data is usually in the form of statistics. Questionnaires and structured interviews are typical methods used when gaining quantitative data, as the results are easily transferable to a numerical form. Qualitative data is associated with participant observation, it can include unstructured interviews, information from written sources such as diaries, autobiographies and novels, information focusing on descriptive aspects of social life, thus helping the researcher experience that portion of social life.

Quantitative data is usually objective, quantitative data is numerically and statistically based. Examples of objective data are divorce statistics, crime statistics and opinion polls; the bias of the researcher is irrelevant as long as he/she doesn't deliberately alter the findings. Exceptions apply when referring to 'interviewer bias'. 'Interviewer bias' is unavoidable; the interviewer will undoubtedly affect the responses of the interviewee. The interviewer has particular personality traits, e.g. aggressive/passive; they also have particularly social characteristics, e.g. race, gender, age group and social class. The social and psychological characteristics will be received and recognised in certain ways by the interviewee, and undoubtedly have an effect on their responses. Qualitative data is not objective; the researcher has to adopt the values of the subjects, which will affect the data collected. One of the most popular methods is participant observation, also connected is when a researcher 'goes native'. By temporarily becoming or by pretending to become members of the group being studied it is easier to provide an accurate description of social life for that particular subject, unfortunately this

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