Essay: Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

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Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

This article analyzes the distinctions between Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methodologies and discusses seven distinct research criteria and how each method differs regarding them. This first Criterion, Epistemological Assumptions, also generally describes the features of both methods. Quantitative research seeks to discover and objective and quantifiable reality independent of feelings or thoughts about it. While qualitative research ascribes beliefs, feeling and thoughts regarding reality and describes it in a varying non-absolute scale. Often the researchers own beliefs about what they are trying to accomplish can influence their selection of research methods. But the parameter for choosing one or the other generally guided by criterion two, Purpose. If the purpose of the study is to garner information about a predictive future state, than quantitative research is generally chosen. More aligned with number theory, quantitative analysis can yield more predictable and graphic results for decision making based on current states. In other words, "generalizability" is the key. Whereas, if a study's purpose is to understand and interpret research that requires a more in-depth methodology that will dig deeper into motivations and beliefs, qualitative methods are usually employed. Here also sample size has less relevance that in quantitative research.

Raw Data, criterion three, is presented quite differently in these methods. Quantitative data, as the word implies, regards quantity or numerical differentiation as key. It is not so much what is said, but how many times an instance occurs or what value can be placed upon it. Whereas qualitative data is usually composed of words whose meanings regarding information can include various media and formats as well.

The next criterion, emphasis, is similar to purpose, as it is the overall intention of the study and the researcher point-of-view. In quantitative research the emphasis is on repeatability and predictability. The results show that there is a trend or tendency and that they… [END OF PREVIEW]

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