Qualitative research differs from quantitative research in several ways. Qualitative research and quantitative research are both used for different forms of results. Qualitative research is far newer to research methods, and many people still believe that qualitative research is not as useful as quantitative research. This article will discuss the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research.
One major difference between qualitative research and quantitative research is the purpose of the research. The goals behind the research being performed are a major difference in these types of research, and this is seen in the questions that will be answered by each type of research.
Qualitative research is proposed to determine the meaning behind human behavior. Qualitative research seeks to determine why people make the decisions they make, like the things they like, and it tries to determine the reasoning and emotions behind the choices people make. It is also used to determine in depth details and motivations of consumers (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
Quantitative research is used to determine exact figures and facts. Quantitative research is used to determine “precise measurements” of things; it is also used to answer questions such as “how much, how often, how many, when, and who” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, Ch. 8).
Another important difference of qualitative research and quantitative research is the level of involvement required by the researcher. In qualitative research the researcher is required to be much more involved and prepared than the quantitative researcher (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).
In qualitative research the researcher must interpret the information and make personal judgments. Qualitative researchers also must use the information they are receiving to alter practices. Qualitative research deals a lot with interpretation and communication which requires a lot of effort from the researcher. Quantitative research has specific requirements and expected outcomes can be measured and predetermined because of the factual basis of the information being collected.
Qualitative research differs from quantitative research because of the way it is collected, the level of involvement of the researcher, and the goal of the research being obtained. Qualitative research is dominated by attention to detail and hidden meanings of why. Quantitative research is characterized by the use of facts and statistics to answer questions pertaining to how, who, and when. These types of research differ, but they are both widely used.
Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2006). Business Research Methods (th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.