quantitative and qualitative research
Quantitative and Qualitative Research
Learning Objectives for Chapter 4
Upon completion of this chapter, the reader should be able to:
Understand the differences between quantitative and qualitative research, including: @
the differing assumptions underlying the two approaches; the methods typical of each approach; and
Understand and discuss how these two approaches to research differentially influence the scientific questions asked, the methodologies employed, and the conclusions drawn, and why this is important to consider.
It is important to recognize that systematic observation and testing can be accomplished using a wide variety of methods. Many people think of scientific inquiry strictly in terms of laboratory experimentation. However, it is neither possible nor desirable to study all phenomena of interest under controlled laboratory conditions.
The design of any study begins with the selection of a topic and a research methodology.
These initial decisions reflect assumptions about the social world, how science should be conducted, and what constitutes legitimate problems, solutions, and criteria of "proof."
Different approaches to research encompass both theory and method.
approaches are widely recognized: quantitative research and qualitative research.
Quantitative research is an inquiry into an identified problem, based on testing a theory, measured with numbers, and analyzed using statistical techniques. The goal of quantitative methods is to determine whether the predictive generalizations of a theory hold true.
By contrast, a study based upon a qualitative process of inquiry has the goal of understanding a social or human problem from multiple perspectives. Qualitative research is conducted in a natural setting and involves a process of building a complex and holistic picture of the phenomenon of interest.
The selection of which research approach is