The epistemology of these two approaches to social research demonstrates a very clear dividing line between Qualitative and Quantitative research methods. The idea behind Quantitative research follows this progression of the ‘natural sciences’ (Neuman, 2006, p.7). Quantitative researchers believe that there is the possibility to describe our reality and to employ an unbiased approach to research. Quantitative research follows the idea of scientific knowledge as a more reformed way of understanding and acquiring knowledge (Fox, 2011, slide 7). On the contrary, Qualitative research follows this growing trend in post-modernism, where scientific problems and claims can and should be challenged. This interpretive social science approach looks at how our understanding of life as we know it is constructed, and that knowledge is tied to power (Fox, 2011, slide 19-21).
There are aspects of qualitative and quantitative research methods that carry quite substantial differences. Within social scientific research, there are three predominant approaches that can