When it comes to research, there are two approaches that are effective in gathering reliable information, which is qualitative and quantitative research. It is important to be able to distinguish between the two, as they are very different and can often become confused as the other. Quantitative research is a type of research that uses numbers and measures gathered from a large sample population (Berg & Lune, 2012, p.3). In order to receive data, it uses paper surveys, online questionnaires, online polls, and telephone interviews as these methods can produce numerical results (Berg & Lune, 2012, p.
3). On the other hand, qualitative research focuses more on the meanings of the data, by looking deeper into the underlying issues. To do this, the researcher needs to receive results beyond statistical numbers which is why qualitative research uses observations, participation, and in-depth interviews to gather it’s data (Berg & Lune, 2012, p.3). Since qualitative research methods are more in-depth, the results take longer to produce whereas quantitative research can collect their results much quicker. A simple way to understand the difference is to think of quantitative as quantity and qualitative as quality.
Quantitative focuses on a bigger population and numerical results (quantity), whereas qualitative focuses on detailed results among a smaller population (quality). Unfortunately, many people believe qualitative research is not as scientific as quantitative because of its use of words instead of numbers (Berg & Lune, 2012, p.4). In order to fully understand the process of qualitative research, it is vital to recognize the design, it’s methods for collecting data, ethnography, types of qualitative research (action research) and the . .multiple cases in order to better understand a certain theory in a larger context (Berg & Lune, 2012, p.
336). This type of case study is considered to be the most interesting compared to the first two because it is more robust (Berg & Lune, 2012, p. 336). Overall, there are many aspects of qualitative research that differ from quantitative research. Understanding qualitative research can be somewhat overwhelming for someone who is only knowledgeable in quantitative, because of how much more detail and time that is invested into a qualitative research study. It is important to understand that the two are both valuable, and they are simply different approaches to explore different types of research.
When learning about qualitative research, understanding how it is designed and the important types of studies and methods used within the research is vital to recognize.