Qualitative and Quantitative Research

There are two kinds of research: qualitative and quantitative.

Qualitative research is a research methodology where opinion-based research is conducted to derive the research conclusions. The methods used in this research include surveys (questionnaires), in-depth interviews, focus groups, and introspective studies where the researcher thinks about the topic for themselves. Where the researcher is talking to others, he or she will use open-ended questions to determine the respondents’ attitude or opinion about the question. The research conclusions are subjective in nature in qualitative research. The researcher will look at the responses and may conduct an in-depth analysis of respondent attitude, the reasons behind responses and try to understand the psychological motivations behind the responses.

An example of qualitative research based on a novel would be to explore the opinions of a small number of readers about the heroine of the book and her actions.

Quantitative research is a research methodology based on numeric data. It is data-oriented research where the goal of research is to derive measurable empirical evidence based on fixed and pre-determined questions. It might use questionnaires like qualitative research, but the questions are closed, and the responses are coded by numbers. If a researcher follows up the questionnaire by interviewing respondents, then this part of the research is qualitative. Quantitative research might be an experimental study where the researcher sets up an experiment to answer a question. Statistical analysis of the data is used to derive meaningful research conclusions.

An example of quantitative research based on a novel would be to determine the 5 most common adjectives in the book by a frequency analysis and then look at how and where they are used in the book.

© Robert Buckmaster 2022