Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research:
“Are they REALLY that Different?”
June 7, 2009
Quan/Qual- Really Diffferent?
From the reading done in the first two chapters of our textbook, it is easy to see the major differences between the quantitative and qualitative approaches to research. They are two very distinct and separate ways to obtain information for the study of almost anything the human being could want to know. However, the methods for obtaining this information is dramatically different and allows for myriad conclusions as to which, if either, is the better or “best” approach. I believe that one can conclude, by definition, that the “quantitative” approach is the more logic-based, objective method, while the “qualitative” approach is the more creative, subjective method to obtaining data for research. According to Creswell, “ a quantitative approach is one in which the investigator uses postpositivist claims for developing knowledge, employs strategies of inquiry such as experiments and surveys, and collects data on predetermined instruments that yield statistical data”. (Creswell, 2003, p.18) Traditional forms of this research might include, but are not limited to, closed-ended questions, predetermined approaches and numeric data.
Quan/Qual- Really Different?
Conversely, a qualitative approach is one in which the inquirer, “often makes knowledge claims based primarily on constructivist perspectives in addition to the use of strategies of inquiry such as narratives, phenomenologies, ethnographies, grounded theory studies or case studies”. (Creswell, 2003, p.18) This would allow much more broad-based, ‘open-ended’ information to be obtained, with the focus being on developing themes from the data. There is no question that both methods have their ‘place’ in the research world and have been used effectively as...
Bibliography: Brannen, Julia (2005) ‘Mixing Methods: The Entry of Qualitative Approaches into the Research Process’, International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 8:3, pp.173-184.
Creswell, J.W. (2003) Research Design: Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods Approaches, Thousand Oaks, London, New Delhi, SAGE Publications.
Firestone, William A. (1987) ‘Meaning in Method: The Rhetoric of Quantitative and Qualitative Research’, Educational Researcher, Vol. 16, No.7, pp.16-21.
Hicks, Herbert G. (1962) ‘Advantages and Limitations of Quantitative Analyses’, Southwestern Social Science Quarterly, Vol. 42, Issue 4, pp. 374-380.
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