Qualitative vs Quantitative Research: What difference?

Both qualitative and quantitative method in a research project can be used to achieve valuable results in your survey and recover the theme deeply. The core difference between qualitative vs. quantitative research could be found in the characteristics of their data.

Speaking of the important characteristics of quantitative research, we should mention that the great focus here is made on the number of data. It is usually used to combine hard, strict and accurate facts that will later serve as a support for your statements. Quantitative information is a statistical one and well-structured. It is really helpful when you need to distinguish a general view on the subject you have discussed.

Qualitative data accentuate the describing of the subject, not on measuring it. Comparing to the quantitative information, it is much less structured and is used to go deeper into the topic and study the subject better. It does not leave the strict general opinion on the topic and makes analyzing more complicated. This data usually contains somebody’s impressions, views, and ideas in order to discover the way other people think about the studied problem.

When to Use Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Both methods will be helpful in your doing project, and it is important to distinguish where each one is better to use. Remember that quantitative data will help you to receive a general picture, while qualitative fill the research with additional details and people’s attitude to the problem.

  1. Formulating statements and hypothesis. Qualitative data provides you with the details about the topic. Using it, you will be able to show people’s attitude to the problem. All these information could be proven by the quantitative data.
  2. Validating hypothesis. To validate your hypothesis, you need to use quantitative research method which would give you the opportunity to make a statistical analysis. However, only quantitative data will help you to distinguish the objective and reliable conclusion.
  3. Getting general answers. Using quantitative research, you will be able to reach the bigger number of respondents as it allows you are using the survey with multiple-choice answers instead of open interviews.
  4. Combining the human aspects. When the process of completing the project is coming to an end, qualitative research will be helpful. It will provide the real people’s attitude to the data given by the quantitative research.

How to Get and Why to Collect Qualitative Data

There exist lots of options on how to get qualitative data and provide yourself with detailed information concerning the topic. We offer the list of them below.

  1. Interview. It is a conversation one-on-one that allows deeply running into the subject.
  2. Expert opinions. It is the information taken from the reliable resources and well-informed people.
  3. Case studies. A list of stories taken from the interviewers.
  4. Open-ended survey questions. A part of the survey, where respondents have the opportunity to express their opinions on the problem freely.
  5. Focus groups. A conversation with a group of people which has the aim to listen to their view on the discussed problem.
  6. Observational research. Observing someone while they are completing their routine tasks with the aim to understand how they treat the product or solve the problem (which is recovered in the project).

Collecting qualitative data is important if you want to give more accurate information and increase the value of your project.

Quantitative or Qualitative Study Design

Choosing the most appropriate method in research is your choice and could not depend on anyone other. However, you should be careful to pay attention to the type of your project and the type of information that you are going to collect. Think attentively which resources are available for you and make a careful decision.

Examples of How to Use

You can use both methods at the same time to get more information and make the results more valuable. For example, if you want to find out how well your business is doing, you will state the following quantitative question: “How long have you been our customer?”, providing the answer options: – less than a year, – 1-2 years, – more than two years. The next question would be: “How likely will you continue to use our products?” with the variants of answers again.
To get more detailed information, you can use the qualitative answer: “What are your questions or comments on our work?” which requires a free opinion from the customer.


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