Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Research Methods Essay

1551 WordsApr 14, 20117 Pages
Qualitative and quantitative research methods are the two dominant methods in psychological research today (Hayes, 2000). Qualitative research methods take an approach to analysing data that looks at meaning rather than numbers. The data, therefore, generally consists of non-numerical information such as words or images. Quantitative research methods approach research differently and analyse the information based on numbers and statistics, the resulting data is primarily numerical. This paper will compare and contrast the two methods looking at their differing research techniques, their suitability for different studies and the resulting differences in data. It will explain the differences and similarities between the two methods and look at the increasing trend to combine the two approaches. In its simplest form quantitative research can be defined as research where the data are in the form of numbers; similarly, qualitative research can be defined as research where the data are not in the form of numbers (Punch, 2005). However, there is much more that goes into defining the two types of research. Quantitative research methods involve data that has numerical value or a way of being measured. These can be scores, ratings or scales or things like height, weight or distance. In this research method the interest is on the numbers themselves and what they can mean. The meanings of numbers are calculated through mathematical processes like mode, median and frequency as well as other statistical procedures. In order for numbers to have a meaning that can be generalised and then be applied to a larger population there needs to be a large amount of data. Quantitative research requires a large quantity of data in order to find trends of information and give the data meaning (Fortune & Reid, 1999). Quantitative research uses very different research methods to qualitative
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