Quantitative and Qualitative Sociology Essay

1121 Words5 Pages
Discuss the merits and demerits of qualitative and quantitative data in sociological research Sociologists have for a long time been divided on the issue of using either quantitative or qualitative data within their sociological research. Those that employ quantitative data are referred to as positivists. Positivists, according to Haralambos and Holborn, are those sociologists who advocate that society can by studied by using scientific methods within research. Those on the other hand that utilize qualitative data within their research are known as interpretivists. Interpretivists are those who support the use of more humanistic methods within research as they believe society cannot be studied as a science because human behaviour is not governed by society. These sociologists each make different claims to support their use of either quantitative or qualitative data. Within this essay, the claims supporting the use of each data will be discussed as well as the claims to dispute them. Quantitative data, according to Mustapha (2009), is data that usually takes the form of statistical and numerical information. This form of data is obtained using various quantitative research methods such as questionnaires and structured interviews. The data obtained from these methods could be for example the statistical information from a questionnaire determining the number of students who engage in crime. Quantitative research methods in particular are widely used within the Caribbean as many researchers have facilitated the use of statistical analysis to measure the extent of various social phenomena such as poverty and crime. Positivists who utilize quantitative data do so mainly because it coincides with their ideology that society can be studied using scientific methods. As noted by Mustapha, Durkheim in particular advocated for quantitative data as it identifies the cause of
Open Document