Posted on: 5th Mar 2020 3455 Views

Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Research

In the earlier article, we have developed an understanding of types of research. The previous article also consists of information about Qualitative and Quantitative research. Now in this article, we will explore the difference between Qualitative and Quantitative research.

Quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics while gathering and evaluating data, whereas qualitative research deals with words and meanings. Both are necessary for acquiring various types of knowledge. Before knowing the difference between qualitative and Quantitative research, you need to first understand the meaning of both.

difference between qualitative and quantative research

What is Quantitative Research?

Quantitative research is a type of investigation which is performed for gathering numerical data related to the topic. Such type of research is mainly executed for the collection of hard facts that is numbers.

Quantitative Research Example

You have performed an investigation for identifying the average height of cricket players in the Indian. You can arrange a survey for gathering information. By making the call to every player you can accumulate information about their heights.

You can visit the house of each player for measuring their height. After gathering all the data you can perform calculations using the mathematical technique for identifying the average height of players.

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What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is an investigation where the researcher is more concerned about gathering non-numerical facts. The main purpose of performing such a type of investigation is to gather facts for describing the subject.

Qualitative Research Example

The research intends to Perform for analyzing the experience of employees working for a specific multinational company. A researcher by using Interview and Questionnaire can gather the information.

An investigator can include  Open and close-ended questions in the Questionnaire form. After obtaining the information investigator can analyze the common answers provided by participants and could easily reach a conclusion.

Now after understanding the meaning of Quantitative and Quantitative research, let’s look at the difference between the two.

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Major Comparison between Qualitative Vs Quantitative research [Tabular]

Basis Qualitative research Quantitative research
DefinitionIt is the scientific technique in which factual information is gathered through observationQuantitative research is an empirical investigation conducted for collecting numerical data related to a subject or topic.
Objectivity and subjectivityYou can expect subjectivity.High level of expectation related to objectivity.
Type of data collectedFacts, images, words, etc.Only numerical data.
Kind of data analysisResearchers mainly analyze the themes and Patterns.An investigator analyzes the statistical relationship between different variables.
FindingsFindings are less generalized,More generalized findings.
Nature of observationCharacteristics and attitudes are observed in a natural setting.Special types of arrangements are made by the investigator for study behaviour.
BenefitThe main benefit of Qualitative research is that you can gather a huge amount of information about the subject.

By conducting qualitative research you can easily develop an understanding of the attitude of people.

the benefit of quantitative research is that you can easily decide by making a comparison between data.

You can ensure the high accuracy of the result.

Techniques used for data collectionYou can apply semi or unstructured for gathering facts related to the topic.The researcher mainly uses interviews and Questionnaire techniques for the collection of data.
VariablesYou can study all variables in Qualitative researchQuantitative research.  students can study Only a particular type of variable

After identification of the difference between qualitative and quantitative research. Let’s look at situations where you can apply Qualitative and Quantitative research.

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The Difference according to Applicability of Qualitative and Quantitative Research [Table]

The difference between the applicability of Qualitative and Quantitative research are :

Basis of differenceQualitative researchQuantitative research
Formulation of hypothesisYou can perform qualitative research for collecting a huge amount of detail about the subject.

You can use Qualitative research for analyzing the information.

In Qualitative research, a researcher using an inductive research approach can develop the hypothesis.


You can apply Quantitative research for proving a solution to the problem is effective.

In Quantitative research,  you can use the deductive approach to testing the hypothesis.

Validation of hypothesisIn Qualitative research, You can make use of evidence for proving your hypothesis to be valid.In Quantitative research, you can utilize statistical analysis techniques for proving the hypothesis to be valid.
Finding common answersIn Qualitative research, there are fewer participants. You will be able to get a few answers to a research question that can help make a decision.Qualitative research involves a large number of participants. You will be able to get the number of responses. Decision-making can be quite difficult.
Incorporation of human elementsYou can include Open-ended questions in the Questionnaire for enabling respondents to share their views and opinions.In quantitative research, the survey questionnaire form mainly consists of close-ended questions.

By facilitating such type of research you can’t get information about people’s opinions.

Difference According to Data Collection Methods Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Quantitative and qualitative data can be collected using a variety of approaches. It’s vital to choose a data collection method that will help you answer your research questions.

In both qualitative and quantitative formats, a variety of data collection methods are accessible. In surveys, observations, or case studies, your data can be expressed as numbers (e.g., using rating scales or counting frequencies) or as words (e.g., using rating scales or counting frequencies) (e.g. with open-ended questions or descriptions of what you observe).

However, some approaches are more commonly utilized in one category than the other.

A.) Quantitative Data Collection Methods

Survey: A list of closed or multiple-choice questions is delivered to a sample of people in a survey (online, in person, or over the phone).
Experiments: Variables are controlled and altered in experiments to determine cause-and-effect correlations.
Observations: Persons in a natural setting with no influence over variables.

B.) Qualitative Data Collection Methods

Interviews: entail asking respondents open-ended questions verbally.
Focus groups: A discussion among a group of people on a topic to gain opinions for future research.
Ethnography is the study of culture and behaviour through immersing oneself in a community or organization for an extended period.
Literature review: A survey of other authors’ published works is referred to as a literature review.

Difference According to Data Analysis: Qualitative and Quantitative

Data, whether qualitative or quantitative, cannot prove or demonstrate anything on its own; it must be evaluated to reveal its meaning to the study questions. Each sort of data requires a different approach to analysis.

Quantitative data analysis

Numbers are the foundation of quantitative data. To find commonalities or trends in the data, simple math or more complicated statistical analysis is performed. Graphs and tables are frequently used to present the findings. Excel, SPSS, and R are examples of applications that can be used to calculate things like:

  • Scores on average
  • The total number of times a specific response was delivered.
  • The relationship between two or more variables (correlation or causation).
  • The results’ dependability and validity

Qualitative data analysis

Statistical analysis of qualitative data is more challenging compared with quantitative analysis. Instead of numbers, it uses text, graphics, or videos. Qualitative data can be analyzed in several ways, including:

  • Analysis of the frequency, position, and meaning of words or phrases in a document.
  • Identifying the main themes and patterns in a large amount of data
  • Communication in social environments is examined through discourse analysis.

Selecting Methodology for Qualitative Vs Quantitative

When selecting whether to employ qualitative or quantitative data, a good rule of thumb is:

  • If you want to confirm or test something, use quantitative research (a theory or hypothesis)
  • If you want to learn more about anything, conduct qualitative research (concepts, thoughts, experiences)

You can use a qualitative, quantitative, or mixed techniques approach to most research topics. Which type you use depends on a variety of factors, including whether you’re conducting inductive or deductive research, your research question(s), whether you’re conducting experimental, correlational, or descriptive research, and practical considerations like time, money, and data availability, and respondent access.

Methodology for quantitative research

You conduct a survey of 300 students at your university, asking them questions like, “How happy are you with your instructors on a scale of 1 to 5?” You can use statistical analysis to make conclusions from the data, such as “on average, students gave their instructors a 4.4.”

Methodology for qualitative research

You interview 15 students in-depth and offer them open-ended questions like, “How pleased are you with your studies?” and “What is the most positive feature of your study program?” “What can be done to improve the study program?” and “What can be done to improve the study program?”

You can ask follow-up questions to clarify topics based on the answers you receive.

A final thought on the differences b/w qualitative and quantitative research

Qualitative and Quantitative studies can be used in the same project to gain a better understanding of phenomena. Qualitative research looks closer into individual organizations or what people think about them, while quantitative data is analyzed with numbers that then help us see where we need improvement.

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