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Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mixed Methods in the Research

Differences Between Qualitative and Quantitative Methods

In addition to the given information, it is necessary to note that qualitative methods enable the researchers to spot trends and phenomena. Whereas, quantitative tools serve to analyze the extent to which these trends are present at certain times and in certain populations (Mertens, 2014). Another difference is the use of sampling techniques (Creswell, 2014). Qualitative research is mainly associated with the use of convenience sampling that ensures the collection of the most detailed accounts of people related to the phenomenon under study. Quantitative research is mainly characterized by the use of random sampling.

Qualitative Techniques

Interviews are traditionally associated with qualitative techniques, but focus group discussions are also widely used (Vogt, Gardner, Haeffele, & Vogt, 2014). This method is instrumental in eliciting more meanings and details as well as observing the circulation and interaction of different ideas and opinions. The use of a semi-structured format is justified as it is impossible to predict the exact way the conversation can unveil or things participants will be willing to share.

Strengths and Weaknesses

The advantage of quantitative methods is the possibility to receive a vast amount of data that can be comparatively easily presented in the quantified form. The major weakness is the difficulty and sometimes the impossibility to take control of the environment, which may affect the validity and reliability of findings (Vogt et al., 2014). One of the weaknesses of qualitative studies is the considerable risk of the researcher’s bias at different stages of the research (for example, sampling, data collection, or analysis). The strength of the qualitative design is associated with the depth of the obtained information.

Examples

Any training program should involve the stage of assessment, which is an example of a quantitative study. The instructor develops a set of desirable learning outcomes and checks whether they are achieved. The effectiveness of the program can be easily made visible in the form of charts and graphs. At that, qualitative research can also be instrumental in evaluating the program. Trainees’ attitudes can be analyzed, so their motivation and performance can be estimated.

References

Creswell, J. W. (2014). Research design: Qualitative, quantitative, and mixed methods approaches (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE.

Mertens, D. M. (2014). Research and evaluation in education and psychology: Integrating diversity with quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods (4th ed.). Thousand Oaks, CA: SAGE Publications.

Vogt, W. P., Gardner, D. C., Haeffele, L. M., & Vogt, E. R. (2014). Selecting the right analyses for your data: Quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods. New York, NY: Guilford Publications.