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Qualitative Research Versus Quantitative Research Essay

1932 words - 8 pages

Qualitative Research Versus Quantitative Research

Quantitative research data is a formal, objective, systematic process
in which numerical data is utilised to obtain information around the
world. Quantitative research is all about quantifying the
relationships between variables such as height, weight. It is obtained
by such things as questionnaires, official statistics and planned
interviews and then from the numerical data we can identify trends and
correlations and get an idea of the attitudes of large numbers of
people which can be very helpful. It is obtained mostly in the form of
numbers. They were originally developed in the natural sciences to
study natural phenomena.

Qualitative research data is all types of data that are not in the
form of numbers including written sources, pictures, films, open-ended
questions and unstructured interviews. Qualitative data can often
provide a richer and more in-depth picture of social life. It was
developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social
and cultural phenomena. Qualitative research uses unreconstructed
logic to get at what is really real: the quality, meaning, context, or
image of reality in what people actually do, not what they say they
do.

The advantages of a questionnaire which produces quantitative data are
you do not have to pay interviewers and it is cheap to classify
results. Fast and efficient analysis possible with pre-coded closed
questions and answers can be easily quantified and entered straight on
to computers. Also questionnaires do not normally need interviewers so
you do not have the risk of the interviewer influencing the
respondent's answers. Questionnaires are a lot less dangerous and
contain less personal involvement even if the questionnaires are
handed out by interviews compared to such things as personal
observation. There will be no difference between articulate and
inarticulate respondents

However some problems with this are people may not fill them in
properly as they are influenced of what people may think if they put
their real answer or they may not properly understand the question
causing confusion. When researchers design the questionnaire they
think they know what is important but respondents cannot provide
information that is not requested and for this reason it is difficult
to develop a hypotheses. There is less than 50% response rate for
postal questionnaires. The answers that the respondents reply with may
be incomplete, illegible or incomprehensible thought making it very
difficult and closed questions may seriously limit what respondents
want to say. Because questionnaires only give a certain set of answers
the respondents wanted answer may not be there.

Official statistics are statistics produced by local and national
government, government agencies and...

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