Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

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Introduction The qualitative and quantitative research methods are typically applied in the field of social research. There has been a lot of debate on the relative advantages between the two designs among researchers almost more than on any other issue of methodology. The quantitative research design encompasses methods which focus on numbers, that is, quantities. The data collected in this design is usually in numbers which are then analyzed using statistical and mechanical methods. This design is highly associated with the field of science such as in practical done in a laboratory (Gall et al 2003). On the other hand, qualitative design normally uses words to explain wider concepts that cannot be captured mathematically such as beliefs, feelings and intentions. The data collected in this design may be in form of words, field notes and transcripts. The data in this design cannot be understood mathematically (Timmons 2005). This article is an attempt to pinpoint what may be regarded as stark differences and importance of each method. Quantitative Method This research involves use of questions whose options of response have been predetermined (Bogdan & Biklen 1992). This design of research employs the use of a large number of respondents. The measurement in this design must theoretically be objective, in numbers and statistically valid. Due to the large number of respondents, the sampling method used is random. Before carrying out the research, the researcher applies a statistical method using formulas to determine the size of the sample which when studied would give findings within acceptable limits. Researchers using this method generally agree that the sample sought should yield findings with 95% confidence interval or there... ... middle of paper ... ..., ‘Origins of Randomization in Experimental Design’. Journal of Special Issue on Experiment & Artifact, 79 (3), pp.427–451. Jick, T 1979, ‘Mixing Quantitative & Qualitative methods. Triangulation in action’. Administrative Sciences Quarterly, 24, pp.602-611. Lather, P 1992, ‘Critical frames in Educational Research’. Theory into Practice, 31(2), pp.87–99. Schostak, J 2006. Interviewing & Representation-Qualitative Research Projects Berkshire; Open University press. Spector, P 1981. Research Designs. Quantitative Applications in the Social Sciences. London; Sage Publications. Timmons, S 2005. Qualitative & Quantitative Research. Web. 21 March 2015. http://www.nottingham.ac.uk/nmp/sonet/rlos/ebp/qvq/3.html. Walker, W 2005, ‘The strengths & weaknesses of research designs involving quantitative measures’. Journal of Research Nursing, 10 (5), pp. 571-82
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