In the field of social science there are two ways of doing
things; qualitative vs. quantitative.
Qualitative: The traditional analysis of data collected by the analysts,
there is no formal quantitative framework used to generate projections. Research that focuses on the experiences, interpretations, impressions
or motivations of an individual or individuals, and that seeks to describe
how people view things and why. It relates to beliefs, attitudes and changing
behaviour. A method of advertising
research that emphasizes the quality of meaning in consumer perceptions and
attitudes; for example, in-depth interviews and focus groups. Research that seeks out people’s attitudes and preferences, usually
conducted through unstructured interviews or focus groups. Is concerned with understanding the processes, which underlie
various behavioural patterns.
~Generally, the information derived
from these approaches is richer and more detailed.
~These approaches allow the subjects to determine the
course of research, rather than the researcher.
~From a statistical standpoint, you
cannot know if the differences you find among the people are generalizable
~Small sample size makes it difficult to make any claims
about the findings.
Quantitative: Research that focuses on measuring and counting facts and the
relationships among variables, and that seeks to describe observations through
statistical analysis of data. It includes experimental and non-experimental
research and descriptive research (research that attempts to describe the
characteristics of a sample or population). Is concerned
with the tabulation or numeric relevance of various kinds of behaviour
Involves the collection of (statistically) large samples
of quantitative data and usually some form of statistical analysis. Quantitative
research is often used to substantiate the findings from qualitative research.
Survey research using a sample of people drawn at
random from a given population. If the sample is drawn properly, the results
of quantitative research can be generalized to the population.
~In Social Science this method
is commonly seen in survey data and census data.
~Can be generalized and applied to the entire population.
~Generaly surveys exclude the poor
and people of color
~Also assumes that people mean the same thing when they
give a particular answer.
Doyle Research Associates, Inc. (1997). Traditional Qualitative
Research. Retrieved May 19, 2004 on the World Wide Web:
Financial Engineering News. (2004). The
Furture of Quantitative Computing. Retrieved May 20, 2004 on the
World Wide Web: