Research and development (R&D) is an important department of every organization in the fields such as marketing, science and technology, biology, economics, business, psychology, medicine, and sociology, etc. Research is important to make improvements and to find out new knowledge.
There are two methods of conducting research, such as qualitative research and quantitative research. The qualitative research is conducted to understand a concept about human behavior, whereas quantitative research is conducted to collect factual data about social phenomena.
In this article, you will learn about the concepts, strengths, limitations, and key differences between qualitative and quantitative research.
What is Qualitative research?
Qualitative research is conducted to get an in-depth insight into naturalistic phenomena. The outcome of this research gives answers to “why” rather than providing the answers to “what.” It is exploratory and unstructured. The qualitative research is majorly conducted to learn about phenomena related to societies, individuals, languages, and communication, and cultures, etc.
These phenomena are complex and are difficult to study with the help of quantitative research. The data about human behavior, interaction, attitudes, and intentions are collected through observation and interpretation.
The data collected from qualitative research can be collected through the face-to-face interviews, direct observation, review, and analysis of documents, records, reports, and artifacts, etc. for example, to collect the information about the preference of people for bathing soaps.
The qualitative research helps in gaining new insight into the research topic, which is not possible otherwise. The researcher can learn about the views that otherwise will remain hidden.
The limitation of qualitative research is that the output of qualitative research depends on the quality, validity, and reliability of the data collected. In addition to this, qualitative research is difficult to conduct as it requires a lot of time to collect data.
What is Quantitative research?
Qualitative research is conducted to test or verify a theory. The data in quantitative research is collected in the form of numerical data.
A relationship is established between two or more variables with the help of statistical methods or computational methods. The outcome of quantitative research is in the form of numerical data, but it can be collected through questionnaire and interviews.
Quantitative research can also be referred to as empirical research. Data collected through quantitative research is represented in the form of graphs and tables to analyze it.
Data collected through quantitative research can be used in decision making. Statistics are used to drive results, establish relationships between variables, describing patterns, and connections from the data collected. The statistic used can be either inferential and descriptive.
Inferential statistics used help in identifying the differences between the two groups of data, whereas, descriptive data is used to summarize the data collected through the quantitative methods.
There are fewer chances of ambiguity in the quantitative research method, as the data is in the form of numerical values. Quantitative research takes less time to conduct as the data can be based on a specific sample.
This type of research is especially useful in validating and verifying the already existing theories.
Quantitative research has a few limitations as it cannot be conducted in natural settings, and participants of the research are not allowed to explain their answers. Quantitative research is tedious to conduct as it requires a large sample to get the accurate output.
The Key differences between Qualitative research and quantitative research
|Qualitative Research||Quantitative Research|
|Qualitative research is conducted to get an insight about human behavior and to understand the way human think and feel.||Quantitative research is conducted in order to generate factual data and numerical data about a particular research topic with the help of mathematical techniques.|
|Qualitative research is subjective in nature.||Quantitative research is objective in nature.|
|The qualitative research is an exploratory type of research.||The quantitative research is a conclusive type of research.|
|The qualitative research is holistic.||The quantitative research is particularistic.|
|The sampling in qualitative research is done purposively.||The sampling of quantitative research is done randomly.|
|Inductive reasoning is used in qualitative research.||The deductive reasoning is used in quantitative research.|
|The Data collected through qualitative research is in verbal form.||The data collected through quantitative research is in measurable (such as numbers) form.|
|The qualitative research is process oriented.||The quantitative research is result oriented.|
|Hypothesis and theories are generated as a primary inductive process.||Deductive process is used to test the pre-existed hypothesis and concepts.|
|The objective of Qualitative research is to discover and explore the idea used in ongoing processes.||The objective of quantitative research is to examine the relationship between cause and effect between different variables.|
|Methods used in qualitative research are in-depth interviews, focus groups, and the study and review of existing documents about the topic.||Methods used in qualitative research are structured interviews, structured observation, surveys, and review of records and numeric data, etc.|
|The purpose of qualitative research is to establish a primary understanding of the topic of research.||The purpose of quantitative research is to get the end result|
|Less time is spent on planning rather than conducting research.||More time is spent on planning rather than conducting research.|
|The qualitative research is less generalizable.||The quantitative research is more generalizable.|
|The response options in qualitative research can be unstructured or semi-structured.||The response options in quantitative research are always fixed.|
Here is a video by Marketing91 on Qualitative Research vs Quantitative Research.
In conclusion, we can say that both types of research have their strengths and limitations. Both types of research can be used simultaneously to get accurate results.
However, there are some areas where only one type of research method can be used, and other is not.
For example, if you want to know about the views of people about the leading political party of a country, then qualitative research is appropriate. Results deduced from quantitative research can be factual, and results deduced from qualitative research can be interpretative.