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Psychology
Statistics
Research Papers

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative observations and methods and what are some examples of each?

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June 26, 2010 9:28AM

When you start to think about your research methodology, you need to think about the differences between qualitative and quantitative research.

Qualitative research explores attitudes, behaviour and experiences through such methods as interviews or focus groups. It attempts to get an in-depth opinion from participants. As it is attitudes, behaviour and experiences which are important, fewer people take part in the research, but the contact with these people tends to last a lot longer. Under the umbrella of qualitative research there are many different methodologies.

Quantitative research generates statistics through the use of large-scale survey research, using methods such as questionnaires or structured interviews. If a market researcher has stopped you on the streets, or you have filled in a questionnaire which has arrived through the post, this falls under the umbrella of quantitative research. This type of research reaches many more people, but the contact with those people is much quicker than it is in qualitative research.