Research plays a vital role in any student’s life as it empowers them with in-depth knowledge about any topic. During your academic course, you’ll come across primarily two types of research – qualitative and quantitative. The differences between these two depend on factors such as the objective, analysed data and many others. Let’s look at the four main differences between these two research methodologies.
Differences based on the analysed data
Qualitative research analyses and interprets non-numerical data such as texts, audio clippings, interviews, photographs, surveys etc. , this kind of research tends to be subjective in its interpretation of the results as there can be various factors that affect the data. Quantitative data, on the other hand, collects numerical data and interprets them using statistical, mathematical and computer-aided tools.
Differences based on the purpose of research
The purpose of qualitative research is to develop a better understanding of human subjectivity, behaviour and personality. In addition, researchers use this method to understand how the participants of the interviews and surveys perceive their surroundings. Meanwhile, researchers use quantitative data to examine the cause and effect between different variables, observe various phenomena to make predictions and use the results to generalise wider populations.
Differences based on the reasoning structure
Qualitative research uses an inductive reasoning method where researchers try to understand and find patterns in the data. It helps them to form connections and establish a relationship to develop a general theory of . In quantitative research, the researchers have a general social theory in mind and use the deductive reasoning method on the collected data to test the implications of the idea.
Difference based on types of responses
The responses of any qualitative research are flexible and subjective as it depends mainly on the person and their individual experience. You can barely find any structure in these responses as these are open-ended in nature. However, in quantitative research, the answers are fixed and do not provide any flexibility. These are mainly in the form of multiple-choice questions. You will come across both qualitative and quantitative research methodologies during your assignments. Having a good understanding of the two will help you determine how you should approach your work. If you are still unsure about the methodology, many online assignment services can help you out.