Which is better qualitative or quantitative research?

As a researcher, I was able to conduct studies using qualitative and quantitative research designs. But mostly I use the quantitative method depending on the needs of my clients. So let me begin my discussion with the quantitative approach to research.

In a quantitative survey design, I generate numeric data to quantify attitudes, opinions, behaviors and other variables using one structured questionnaire it could be either standardized or self-made. I use various types of research in my data collection, e.g. online surveys and paper surveys. I used deductive process when testing hypothesis.Statistical samples used for analysis.

In short, the quantitative survey method is:

  • including surveys, structured interviews and observations and reviews of records or documents for numerical information

  • primarily deductive process used to test predefined concepts, constructs and hypotheses that make up a theory

  • more objective: provides observed effects of a program on a problem or condition

  • number-based

  • less in-depth, but more breadth of information in a large number of cases

  • fixed answer options

  • statistical tests are used for analysis

  • can be valid and reliable: largely dependent on the measuring instrument or instrument used

  • a lot of time is spent on the planning phase and less on the analysis phase

  • more generalizable

Qualitative study design on the other hand, is used to gain an understanding of underlying causes, opinions and motivations that provide insight into the problem. I use it too to reveal trends in thoughts and opinions and to dig deeper into the problem. The method of data collection includes focus group discussions (FGD) individual interviews using key informant interview (KII) protocol and also participation or observations participatory observation is about engaging with the study target participants. It is focused on understand a phenomenon from a closer perspective with a deep comprehensive strategy or approach which requires a lot of time and resources. Basically, I use only a small number of participants in this study.

Here is a qualitative study method:

  • including focus groups, in-depth interviews, and document review for types of themes;

  • primarily inductive process used to formulate theory or hypotheses;

  • more subjective: describe a problem or condition from the point of view of those who experience it;

  • text-based;

  • more detailed information on a few cases;

  • unstructured or semi-structured response options;

  • no statistical tests;

  • can be valid and reliable: depends largely on on skill and rigor for the researcher;

  • time spent on planning is less but a large amount of time spent in the analysis phase; and

  • less generalizable

Thus, these two general approaches to research are both used to collect data or information and allow a different perspective of a situation or phenomena.