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Writing 117 (Pravin): Methodology

Writing for the Social Sciences and Humanities

Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research

A basic introduction to quantitative and qualitative research. 2:22 from UniversityNow

Empirical Studies: Qualitative vs. Quantitative

Explains differences between quantitative and qualitative studies including the methods used and how data might be analyzed.  Provides examples of research studies using quantitative, qualitative, or mixed methods (combination) approach.  USU Libraries (5:51) 

Comparison of Quantitative & Qualitative Methods

  Qualitative Research Quantitative Research
Nature / Purpose a research method that generates an understanding of the social world; the purpose is to explore and discover ideas a research method that generates and analyzes numerical data; the purpose it to examine the cause and effect relationship between variables
Approach subjective, process-oriented objective, outcome-oriented
Hypotheses tentative and evolving; generated stated up-front; specific and tested
Research Setting a controlled environment is not as important a controlled environment is very important
Sampling often small, may not be representative (purposive) often large, desire that they are representative of a population (random)
Design & Method flexible, descriptive structured, calculates
Data words (verbal), pictures, objects 

numbers (measurable)

Methods for Collecting Data 

non-structured techniques: interviews, diaries, observation (people, documents, artifacts), focus groups, field notes, open-ended survey questions, 

structured techniques: observations, questionnaires, surveys
Data Analysis user observations use numbers & statistics
Data Interpretation  conclusions are tentative conclusions are stated with a degree of certainty
Results develops an initial understanding recommends a final course of action

This chart is based on the following sources: Qualitative vs. Quantitative (Diffen), Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research (Key Differences).

Additional Sources:

 What is Qualitative Research? from the University of Utah, College of Nursing

  • This article also highlights differences between qualitative and quantitative research.

Methods from Duke University Libraries

  • This chart outlines various methods for qualitative research and outline both advantages and challenges of using each. 

Basic Research Methods: An Entry to Social Science Research (2010) Guthrie

  • This ebook includes chapters on data collection methods and both qualitative and quantitative research