Some would argue that one method is better than the other. However, there are those that would suggest that any research or study must utilize a combination of the two methods. The only idea that researchers agree one is that qualitative and quantitative research methods are different in certain ways. Furthermore, there are cases when one of them is better suited for a particular study or research. Understanding the differences between the two will allow an individual to identify the situations wherein using one or a combination of the two is more suitable for a particular study. Moreover, researchers must realize the importance of their choice of approach especially in cases wherein the findings of their study are to be used as basis and guides for decisions about certain policies or practices.
Qualitative vs. Quantitative
The simplest way to distinguish the qualitative research method from the quantitative method is that qualitative data involves words while the latter works with numerical data. What this means is that in quantitative research, researchers work with numbers and express their results and findings through numerical information. On the other hand, qualitative research utilizes data that comes in the form of words. (Barnes et al, 2005)
Another difference is that quantitative research is deductive while qualitative research is inductive. This implies that in quantitative research, the researchers go about their study using an established theory as basis of their analysis. As such, quantitative research requires the formulation of hypothesis which will be what the researchers will be trying to prove or disprove. On the other hand, the quantitative method builds upon the data that has been collected. Patterns emerge from the analysis of the collected data. Since the quantitative method does not have preconceived assumptions, it can proceed without stating a hypothesis. (Barnes et al, 2005)
With regards to the collection of data, there is likewise a difference between the two approaches in question. Quantitative research occurs in a more controlled environment wherein the researcher merely serves as an objective observer. Intervention also plays a key role in the collection of quantitative data because it serves as a way of discovering new things. The researcher discovers new ideas and principles by observing the changes that result from changes or interventions made to the environment. In the case of the collection of qualitative data, the researcher is thought to collect the most significant data through participant observation. No changes are made to the environment and instead, the researcher attempts to get a feel of the environment so as to collect relevant data for his research.
Lastly, quantitative and qualitative resea