All entries for Friday 22 April 2011

April 22, 2011

Qualitative & Quantitative analysis

Empirical research: data (numbers-quantitative, not numbers-qualitative)

Quantitative emprical research: data as numbers, Qualitative empirical research: data as (mostly) words

Questions -> methods, Research questions -> Research methods

Qualitative: All research ultimately has  a qualitative grounding - Donald Campbell.

                  The aim is a complete, detailed description.

                  Researcher may only know roughly in advance what he/she is looking for

                  Recommended during ealier phases of research projects.

                  The design emerges as the study unfolds.

                  Research is the data gathering instrument.

                  Data is in the form of words, pictures of objects.

                  Subjective- individuals' interpretation of events is important.

                 Qualitative data is more rich, time consuming, and less able to be generalized.

                 Researcher tends to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter.

Quantitative: There's no such thing as qualitative data everything is either 1 or 0

                    The aim is to classify features, count them, and construct statistical models in an attempt to explain

                    what is observed.

                    Researcher knows clearly in advance what he/she is looking for.

                    Recommended during latter phases of research projects.

                    All aspects of the study are carefully designed before data is collected.

                    Researcher uses tools, such as questionnaires or equipment to collect numerical data.

                    Data is in the form of numbers and statistics.

                    Objective seeks precise measurement & analysis of target concepts.

                    Quantitative data is more efficient, able to test hypotheses, but may miss contextual detail.

                    Researcher tends to remain objectively seperated from the subject matter.

The scientific method in the social sciences

Theory (to explain the data) <-> Data (to build theory)

Neill, J. (2007). Qualitative versus Quantitative Research: Key points in a classic debate.


Punch, K. (2005).  Introduction to social research: quantitative and qualitative approaches. London: SAGE.

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