I am sure many of you are very familiar with qualitative and qualitative research. It is a process we must go through during our studies at university. Ever thought of whether yourself prefer using qualitative or quantitative research? To me, it is a love hate relationship. And why is that so? Let’s talk about it more in-depth.
Quantitative is a very structure way of conducting a research. Researcher decides what to do and what not to. It is a very top-down process whereby the researcher will test hypothesis from the collected data. The data collection methods are mainly structured interviews, surveys and statistical records. This method allows us to collect many cases, however, with limited information. Hence, the findings are usually more generalizable and quite specific.
On the other hand, qualitative research is another research method that allows researcher to gather different views from participants. Researcher who use qualitative method focuses more on how and why questions. It is a bottom up process whereby new hypothesis or theories are generated from the collected data. The data collection methods are mainly in-depth interviews, focus group discussion or observation. It allows us to collect more information, yet, with limited cases. The sample size is rather small as compared to the quantitative research method, but it is not an important issue. Findings are then less generalizable and more descriptive (Adhikari, 2018).
Personally, I would prefer the qualitative research method. There are a few reasons to it:
- It allows me to explore the possible new potential concepts to explain the phenomena observed.
- It allows me to perceive things in a wider angle rather than being limited within the existing theories.
- It allows me to be able to determine more than just initial responses and rationales.
- Recording and interpretation of non-verbal communication also allows me to have a better understanding or chances to probe more on how participants feel and their opinions and perceptions on the relevant matters.
Nonetheless, there are also some challenges or disadvantages when it comes to qualitative research. For instance, there may be a research bias from the researcher as to how researcher perceive or interpret the information collected. Hence, the problem of adequate validity or reliability has always been a major criticism. Qualitative studies are often difficult to be replicated as the contexts, situations, events, conditions and interactions are not replicable to any extent. The time required for qualitative data collection, analysis and interpretation are rather lengthy as well (Carol, 2016).
Despite so, we welcome you to share you own personal experience when it comes to qualitative and quantitative research methods. It is always interesting to hear from both sides’ stories.
Adhikari, S (2018). Differences between quantitative and qualitative research. Retrieved from https://www.publichealthnotes.com/differences-qualitative-quantitative-research/
Carol, T. (2016). Why Choose Qualitative Research over Quantitative Research? Retrieved from https://medium.com/@thomascarol1988/why-choose-qualitative-research-over-quantitative-research-8cf3141d99a5