Essay on Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Essay on Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

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Qualitative and quantitative research methods take different approaches to gathering and analysing information. Whether it is a qualitative or quantitative study, the research study begins with a question or series of questions. Both use rigorously designed studies to get the most accurate, detailed and complete results. Qualitative studies common methods are interviews, surveys and observation. A qualitative study aims to provide a detailed description of the study results, often using pictures and written descriptions to describe what the research revealed. A qualitative study looks at the big picture, helping researchers to narrow in on points of interest that then can be followed up on in a quantitative study. While a quantitative study has a narrower focus, it attempts to provide a detailed explanation of the study focus, along with this using numbers and statistics. And the results from a quantitative study can reveal bigger questions that call for qualitative study. Or vice versa a qualitative study may reveal at analysis that a more focus and direct approach may be needed. With both methods analysis is a key part of any study whether qualitative or quantitative.


Research means different things to different people and may be motivated by what you want to gain from the research. Academic research differs from journalism where the latter may produce only one stance of the argument to gain the certain interest and strength. Academic and Social research is more systematic and seeks different angels, evidence and view points. Samantha Punch spoke about her motivation being to find a child’s perspective and finding out about their lives. To do this she had to challenge her own assumptions and it took time and a flexible an...


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...M., Robinson, C., Fraser, S., and Ding. S. (eds) The Reality of Research with Children and Young People, London: Sage in association with The Open University.
Takei, W. (2004) ‘How Do Deaf Infants Attain First Signs? ’ in Lewis, V., Kellett, M., Robinson, C., Fraser, S., and Ding. S. (eds) The Reality of Research with Children and Young People, London: Sage in association with The Open University.
The Open University (2004a) EK310 Research with Children and Young People, Audio Band 4: ‘Interview techniques’, Milton Keynes: The Open University.
The Open University (2004b) EK310 Research with Children and Young People, Audio Band 1: ‘What is research’, Milton Keynes: The Open University.
United Nations (1998) United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC),
http://www2.ohchr.org/english/law/crc.htm#art12 (Accessed 04/03/2011)



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