What is the Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?

Many times those that undertake a research project often find they are not aware of the differences between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research methods.  Many mistakenly think the two terms can be used interchangeably.

So what is the difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?

Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory research.  It is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations. It provides insights into the problem or helps to develop ideas or hypotheses for potential quantitative research. Qualitative Research is also used to uncover trends in thought and opinions, and dive deeper into the problem. Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques. Some common methods include focus groups (group discussions), individual interviews, and participation/observations. The sample size is typically small, and respondents are selected to fulfill a given quota.

Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into useable statistics. It is used to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors, and other defined variables – and generalize results from a larger sample population. Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research. Quantitative data collection methods are much more structured than Qualitative data collection methods. Quantitative data collection methods include various forms of surveys – online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys and kiosk surveys, face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website interceptors, online polls, and systematic observations.

Snap Survey Software is the ideal solution for a Quantitative Research tool where structured techniques such as large numbers of respondents and descriptive findings are required. Snap Survey Software has many robust features that will help your organization effectively gather and analyze quantitative data.

Get Started Snap Survey Software

603 610 8700 or Get Your Free Demo »

32 thoughts on “What is the Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research?

  1. najma on said:

    thank u,it is easy 4 me 2 understand about the differences of the 2 research methods…

  2. Diana Appiah on said:

    Thanks so much for the answer. what are the methods of analyzing quantitative data in research?

  3. Many thanks for giving me clear understanding around the differences between the two approaches

  4. hlanganani mnguni on said:

    thank you for differentiating the two it makes sense now however i would really appreciate to know the authors behind the two approaches

  5. camilo tabinas on said:

    While defining quantitative and qualitative research based on its uses and purposes may be considered a practical approach for researcher, the difference actually lie on their roots: Quality and quantity. Procedures, designs, concepts, purposes and uses emanate from there. Example on qualitative research referring to quality where problems are answered without generally focusing on quantity, are descriptions (in words) coming form interviews, discussions or observations. However when words are translated to quantity in order to describe or to generalize, then the research is now called quantitatitive research. The bottom lines are the questions: “What is/are ” for quality and” how much/many” for quantity.

  6. camilo tabinas on said:

    While defining quantitative and qualitative research based on their uses and purposes may be considered a practical approach for researcher, the difference actually lies on their roots: Quality and quantity. Procedures, designs, concepts, purposes and uses emanate from there. Example on qualitative research referring to quality where problems are answered without generally focusing on quantity, are descriptions (in words) coming form interviews, discussions or observations. However when words are translated to quantity in order to describe or to generalize, then the research is now called quantitatitive research. The bottom lines are the questions: “What is/are ” for quality and” how much/many” for quantity.

  7. Nkululeko on said:

    thanks for giving the clear picture on the difference between the two because it could be so confusing for students if not clearly explained.

  8. Ester Robina on said:

    Many thanks for giving me clear understanding around the differences between the qualitative and quantative research.

  9. Tshililo on said:

    Thanks a millions time. I was struggling to get an idea of how to approach the definitions. In fact I was even hesitating to answer the questions confidently. Thanks again. Cheers!

  10. Faith Dimgba on said:

    Thanks for the distinct comparison between qualitative and quantitative Research, very very helpful.

  11. sylvia hamusi on said:

    thank you so much for the differences of quantitative and quantitative research methods, they are well elaborated

  12. Camilo Tabinas on said:

    update… As research paradigm, quantitative and qualitative research may be differentiated as follows:

    • Quantitative research is a deductive ,objective process of inquiry where the variables in study are measured in numbers and analyzed using statistical procedures in order to describe or make generalizations and reported in formal, impersonal language . while..
    • Qualitative research is an inductive, subjective process of inquiry done in natural setting in order to build a complex, holistic picture , described in words, including the detailed views of the informants are reported in informal, personal language.

  13. Camilo Tabinas on said:

    The above definitions i gave above is based on the descriptions given by John Creswell (2009) in his book “Research Design” published by Sage pub.

Leave a Reply

Current day month ye@r *