Differences Between Qualitative And Quantitative Research

The main difference between quantitative and qualitative research is their method of selecting examples. First, quantitative research is a methodical method using probability sampling while qualitative research is non-probability sampling method. Quantitative sampling is random selection this means every person in population has similar chance of being determined (Del Balso and Lewis 2005). It stresses on selecting a huge size of samples for creating and making sure the representativeness of the feature of population. In contrast, qualitative research sampling is non arbitrary selection where this means every population to be selected has unidentified chance (Babbie 2007). It concerns on selecting specific and small sizes of sample populace for understanding cultural life

Second difference is the adoption of techniques in the task of sampling design for guaranteeing the product quality. Quantitative sampling allows to use of various statistical sampling design for estimating mistake in several situations (Babbie 2007). They include simple arbitrary, systematic, stratified and multistage cluster sampling. For example, stratified random sampling is used to divide population into groupings such men and women. Then, the samples are selected evenly from each group. It could ensure the representativeness of subgroup and decrease the degree of error. In a different way, qualitative research sampling is not tended to ensure representativeness. It largely uses convenience, purposive, quota and snowball sampling for obtaining information about communal groups in true to life.


One major difference of the dimension between them is the timing in calculating data. Quantitative analysts mainly 'think about factors and convert them into specific actions during a planning stage occurring before and split from gathering or inspecting data' (Neuman 2006, p16-17). Differently, qualitative researchers take place in the process of collecting data. That means researchers measuring data before gathering data and can develop new questions as well as come up with new ideas during collecting data.

Moreover, the strategy in measuring data is also different. Quantitative research produces systematic techniques to produce numerical data which can move from abstract ideas or factors to specific data way of measuring (Neuman 2006). In another way, qualitative research steps the info not only by means of number, but also includes written, spoken words, activities, sounds or aesthetic images, such as photos, videos, maps.

Data analysis

First, the technique of data examination is different. In quantitative research, statistical methods are mainly used for inspecting data in order to discovering the partnership between variables (Babbie 2007). For example, researchers run the gathered data through coding into the SPSS software. The techniques of data examination in quantitative research are various such as univariate examination, subgroup evaluations, bivariate and multivariate examination. On the other hand, qualitative research is the non-numerical testing through interpretation of observations by researchers. Qualitative data research basically requires researchers to organize the info, to peruse the whole data, to recognize general categories of data, and then to assimilate and summarize the data where these steps are Creswell's idea (Leedy and Ormrod 2010).

Besides, they use different ways to present the consequence of data examination. In quantitative research, it is provided by some numbers, in furniture, or graphics, information, matrix, or diagrams (Leedy and Ormrod 2010). Differ to quantitative research, gathered data mostly contain words, pictures, and observations of conditions that can be provided in the narrative form such as written or spoken words.

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Compare the advantages and weaknesses of quantitative and qualitative research. (50%) Illustrate your answer with appropriate research situations. (20%)


During the process of building and implementing the study and generalize results, quantitative and qualitative researches both have some strengths and weaknesses due to different seeks and methods for executing research. This part would generally give attention to a few of aspects like the overall flexibility of research design, process of data collection, complete information about real sociable life, degree of dimension, and representativeness of data result to consider the strengths and weaknesses between them.


Flexibility of research design

First, in the versatility of research design for analysts, qualitative research seems more strengthen than quantitative research. Actually, qualitative research does not have an exact standardized tool in creating research questions. Thus, questions are changeable and modifiable whenever appropriate through the research (Neuman 2006). For instance, when doing any of in-depth interview, it allows the research workers to improve and create their questions and ideas basic on the situation of participant's response, instead of following a questions they prepare before. Therefore, it shows that qualitative methods allow researcher has increased freedom and flexibility to modify research design any time.

Contrarily, maybe it's a critic that quantitative research is less adaptable because of the preplanned, structured and standardized devices before implementing questionnaires (Neuman 2006). Researchers just follow the devices and unaware of the new changing. For example, research with questionnaires allow experts asking all members similar questions in the same order. Especially some questionnaires are 'closed-ended' (Babbie 2007). Just like the questions about the frame of mind of abortion, it could ask 'do you support the tendencies of abortion?' Here, the respondents can only answer 'yes' or 'no'. Thus, it is too relied on highly organised questionnaires so as lack overall flexibility.

Procedure of data collection

However, such standardized tool can be mentioned that the process of data collection is more organized so that it is strength since it is simpler for researchers to follow. For instance, when doing a telephone survey about Hong Kong people' voting motives, the experts are just necessary to ask participants exactly the same questions and have to impute the same goal to all or any respondents giving a specific response (Babbie 2007).

In contract, it is complex in doing qualitative research as it really depends on the quality of researchers' skills. For example, when doing an in-depth interview about the culture of a small town, it allows respondents to respond independently words r, alternatively than forcing these to choose from resolved responses. In this way, some interviewers may well misinterpret and misclassify a reply.

Detailed information about real public life

In capturing the in-depth data about sociable occurrence in real cultural life, qualitative research is more strengthen than quantitative research. Qualitative research looks for to see phenomena for having deeper understand about the complicated certainty (Babbie 2007). It employs participant observation, in-depth interview, and concentrate group to obtain a specific kind of human behavior, attitudes and motivation within wider wording in natural settings. For example, to perform a research study about the smoking culture among adolescents, researchers can get involved to the people smoking groupings for observing and interacting with them. Analysts can ask the in-depth opinions about smoking. Therefore, analysts can explore their attitudes and real thoughts about the problem.

Differently, quantitative research is being criticized that it's weakened to provide detailed and in-depth information about participants' feelings and opinions (Babbie 2007). The survey research with questionnaire may provide information in some area, but it almost never produces the questions about the total situation that what respondents are thinking, feeling and operating. For example, when there is a survey about job satisfaction. Questionnaires may only are the degree of satisfaction about the careers but seldom ask them for in-depth opinion in what they think. Therefore, it may incapable of getting at the significant aspects of communal life. In other say, quantitative research can generalize a representative effect but sometimes too superficial.

Level of measurement

Furthermore, you can find durability of quantitative research about the dimension quality of parameters. Babbie (2007) noted that quantitative research is strong on trustworthiness and poor on validity compare to qualitative research. Actually, quantitative research has a standardized stimulus that goes a long way reducing unreliability that created by observers in qualitative research (Babbie 2007). However, qualitative field research is vulnerable on reliability. Field research has problem on observing, such as doing research about the homosexuality, bias from those researchers or observers may within the process. As it is very personal and difficult of handling analysts' bias, as well as their misinterpretation, the judgment on observation may have considerable stability problem.

Nevertheless, qualitative research has distinctive strength when regarding the validity. Babbie (2007) mentioned that field research provides strategy with higher validity than do study and experimental measurement. For example, when they are thinking about investigating the behaviour and feeling of gender offenders in natural setting up, then observation method would be more valid than doing survey for investigating and understand the situation. Contrarily, survey may not become more valid as some of the respondents' sense and attitudes may well not be answered in the self-administered questionnaires (Babbie 2007). For instance, questionnaires may take forms of 'highly agreeing, agreeing, disagreeing, or firmly disagreeing', but without 'neutral'. Thus the effect can be manipulated and fragile in measuring the true situation validly.

Representativeness of the data result

For making the result of representative research, quantitative research seems more strengthen than qualitative research. Representativeness is the fact that the quality of a sample of having the same circulation of characteristic through arbitrary selection (Babbie 2007). It adopts the possibility sampling method such concerning collects a wide range of data through random selection. For instance, when performing a review about the citizens' satisfaction about Hong Kong SAR Insurance plan Address of 'My Home Purchase Plan', simple arbitrary sampling can be used which each of population has equal chance to be picked. In this manner, the effect can be produced.

However, qualitative research is relatively lack of representative anticipated to non arbitrary sample selection and smaller sample sizes. For example, there is a review about Hong Kong residents' behaviour toward the new legislation of Least Wage, qualitative in-depth interview by using purposive sampling with smaller sampling sizes. If experts choose test for in-depth interview with many of employers alternatively than employees, it may not represent the population as researchers' bias may entail.


Quantitative research and qualitative research both have advantages weaknesses in several aspects. Qualitative research is strengthen on the flexibility of research design, complete information about real public life, and degree of way of measuring on validity while quantitative research may has power on the systematic treatment of data collection, degree of measurement on consistency, and representativeness of data consequence.

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