Qualitative or Quantitative Research: Which Best Suits Your Research?

By Grace Hamburger on Oct 25, 2019
eContent Pro
Qualitative vs Quantitative

The first step in any research process is to ask a question. From there you do background research, construct a hypothesis, and test that hypothesis by doing an experiment. How you perform experiments largely determines how you will later present the data, and the resulting research can be placed into two separate categories: qualitative or quantitative.

What are the differences between qualitative and quantitative research? In short, qualitative is about impressions and observation, while quantitative is focused on hard data and numerical values. Each category has benefits and drawbacks to the data collection process. So, how does your research fit into each category, and once you have picked a method, how do you present it? Let eContent Pro help you solve this.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative data is used to describe a topic rather than measure it. When a person uses qualitative data in their research, they are talking about impressions, opinions, and views, rather than hard facts. The structure of this form of data collection is very loose and can be gathered through almost any means that fit your subject area. Photographs, unstructured interviews, or simple observation in your everyday life can give you qualitative data. Research in this form is much more about insight rather than statistical analysis or hard data collection. It’s a versatile technique and when used correctly, it can create a narrative in your given research area.

Studies and tests are so loosely structured in this form of data collection that recreating an experiment is next to impossible. At times the validity of qualitative research comes into question, as does the reliability of the information that you collect. However, the researcher becomes incredibly close to their subject matter, and therefore gains a specialized view into their subject that they might not otherwise get. A qualitative researcher becomes emotionally invested in their product and can therefore spot the subtleties in their research that they might not see in a lab. This is beneficial to researchers who want to write a story with their work.

Quantitative Research

Quantitative data is all about cold, hard facts. This form of research is entirely data-based and is much more specific than qualitative research. Gathering data in this method is incredibly rigid and structured, therefore tests and experiments need to have a very controlled atmosphere. The margin for error is very low, and measurements are precise and presented as graphs and tables rather than narratives. Numbers and figures play a large role in quantitative research, and even questionnaires and interviews are often given numerical values based on answers.

The strict structure of information gathering in this form of data collection can at times make the test subjects unreliable, as they do not have the ability to explain their choices or make these choices in their comfort zones. There is also the possibility of researcher error, as they might miss something in their data collection because they are too focused on another aspect of the experiment. However, the more subjects who are used, the more accurate the research. It is possible to keep experiments going for any length of time as long as the researcher can keep replicating their conditions. Because quantitative research is collected using numbers, it is very easy to understand and explain research quickly.

Once you have collected your data, how can you best present it? At eContent Pro, our expert design team is trained to take your figures, tables, charts, and equations and improve the quality of your work in no time. Ensure your data is being accurately represented, and give your work the extra lift it deserves!

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