Qualitative and quantitative research methods

Qualitative and quantitative research methods are the most commonly used approaches to health research. Nevertheless, these two strategies are different. Qualitative research collects information to investigate individuals’ actions, viewpoints, and encounters and comprehends occurrences through naturalistic investigation (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2022). This research technique assists researchers in recognizing the views and actions of study participants regarding a particular subject. The data collected through qualitative research is analyzed using social science and behavioral science approaches, resulting in thorough findings. In contrast to quantitative methods, qualitative research emphasizes interpreting and making conclusions based on collected data.

The main distinctions between qualitative and quantitative research methods lie in the collected and evaluated data. Qualitative research involves collecting non-numeric data like personal experiences, research articles, and images to explore opinions through interviews and observation. In contrast, quantitative research gathers numerical data and utilizes statistical methods for analysis (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2022). The research objective plays a role in distinguishing between the two main data collection methods: qualitative research aims to comprehend human behaviors. In contrast, quantitative methods analyze numerical data to establish connections between variables. Hence, the choice between the two research methods is influenced by goals, research inquiries, and whether the research follows a deductive or inductive strategy. As a result, qualitative research methods are used if research seeks to gain an in-depth understanding of the experiences and behaviors, if the research questions are exploratory, to study a complex phenomenon, and to generate theories and hypotheses. Conversely, quantitative research methods are used when a researcher seeks to test or prove a hypothesis, when findings must be generalized to large populations, and when statistical analyses need to quantify patterns and relationships.

Another significant difference between these two data collection methods is the type of data collection tools. In qualitative research, data is collected through one-on-one interviews, focus groups, ethnographic research, case study research, record keeping, and process observation (McBeath & Bager-Charleson, 2020). One-on-one interviews are a research method that allows a researcher to gain in-depth data and meaningful details about a situation from a respondent by conversationally asking questions. Focus groups are respondents that permit a researcher to collect data by answering how, why, and what questions. Ethnographic research is a data collection method in which a researcher adapts to the target population group’s settings to gain first-hand information and experience by learning the culture, settings, motivation, and challenges. Case study research explains situations based on previously collected data. It is almost similar to record-keeping, in which researchers rely on reliable documents as data sources. Lastly, observation entails a researcher using all five sensory organs to gather data.

On the other hand, quantitative data collection methods include surveys, correlational research, causal-comparative research, and experimental research. A survey is a technique in which study participants are asked questions using different tools such as paper questionnaires, online surveys, and online polls to collect data from randomly selected individuals (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2022). Surveys can be carried out face-to-face or through internet mediums. Secondly, correlational research is a data collection method that compares two or more entities to establish how the naturally occurring relationship between the two elements affects each other. The methodology allows the researcher to observe the impact of the variables on one another and their relationship or manipulate the variables to achieve desired results. Thirdly, a causal-comparative research method, or quasi-experimental research, is a methodology in which a researcher studies the cause-effect relationship of variables in their natural setup. One variable is dependent, and the other one is independent. Lastly, experimental data research methodology depends on a hypothesis or theory (LoBiondo-Wood & Haber, 2022). The researcher attempts to prove or disapprove of a phenomenon in its natural setting.

Qualitative and quantitative research methods

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