Design Differences in Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

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The design differences in qualitative research in comparison to quantitative research plainly seen are these: qualitative research involves words, pictures, or objects; quantitative involves data in the form of numbers and statistics. The researcher uses in-depth interviews in qualitative research to find out how the subjects view their world. In quantitative research the researcher uses precise measurement to predict hypotheses. In qualitative research the researcher changes the environment of the subject and uses these in-depth questionnaires to find differing attitudes about the world we live in. Quantitative can be personal, such as in periodic visits with the researchers to analysis symptoms and record data. Qualitative and quantitative can overlap in the in-dept interview process in quantitative research to record data and test subjects for symptoms. The two designs can overlap but there are finally differences such as numerical data collection and statistics that will always be at odds.

I will always disagree with the statement that quantitative research is impersonal since experience is the best knowledge to know that is not true even though on the surface quantitative research seems impersonal because raw data is obtained. It first begins with the interview in both methods. Then it progresses and branches off into two very different methods. The human quality is there throughout the study in quantitative research though you are required to impute data into the system daily. When you meet with the researchers periodically you are reminded of the human quality. Researchers in all research care about their subjects, if even in professional way.

In ending, these are the definitive differences between the two methods that are most recognized: The quantitative method first involves a theory and hypothesis clearly stated in the beginning, the qualitative methods do not formulate a hypothesis until the end of the study. Secondly, the quantitative method involves manipulation and control. An example of manipulation is the drug the control is the placebo. The drug is the instrument, you are being experimented on, the data you give is analyzed and a theory or hypothesis is reasoned. Then the data is reduced to statistics that are abstract and understandable by statististitians.

Secondly in comparison, qualitative research ends with the hypothesis, involves emergence and portrayal of the world through the subjects eyes, the researcher changes the subjects environment so the he/she can observe how the subject reacts in certain ways, the researcher measures emotional responses and is directly involved in the research as being a confederate, or an impartial observer.

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The researcher searches for patterns of behavior to record in detail the subject’s experience. The numerical data is trivialized in comparison to the quantitative data method and that is what sets the two methods apart the most. In the end, the humanistic way always win, but the quantitative method comes in at a close second.


References:
Notes from instructor Summer Matheson Website: Del Siegel, PhD
del.siegle@uconn.edu

Experience from being a subject in quantitative research.


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