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Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative and quantitative research methods are considered very different basically, but there are many similarities in their objectives and applications.

Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research Quantitative Research
Quantitative research methods are used in the quantification of data. Qualitative research methods are mainly used in determining underlying reasons.
In quantitative research, the focus is more on measurement. In qualitative research, understanding is considered more important.
Subjective Objective
Use to develop theory Used to test the theory
No statistical tests Statistical tests
Less generalized More generalized
Mainly inductive process Mainly deductive process
Data can be observed but not measured Data can be measured

Given below are some core areas of difference in quantitative and qualitative research.

-Aim of the Research

Qualitative, as well as quantitative research, differ from each other in their aims.

The main aim of qualitative research is to provide the in-depth description of the research; it is typically considered investigative or exploratory in nature.

While in the case of quantitative research, it is more focussed on providing statistical models and numerical data to explain the observations. It is conclusive in nature.


Concerning their usage; qualitative methods are used in early stages of research. While quantitative methods are used in later stages of research.

-Data Collection Techniques

In qualitative research, techniques and instruments used are numerous depending upon the approach of the researcher e.g. focus groups, in-depth interviews, and reviews of documents. While qualitative research makes use of surveys, structured interviews and observations and various other methods like these for numeric information.

-Data Presentation

Type of data presentation in quantitative research is most likely in the form of tables containing numerical data. In the case of qualitative research the data is most likely presented in the form of text, figures, and graphs.


Quantitative research is primarily objective in its approach as it only looks for precise measurements. Qualitative research is principally of subjective nature as it seeks for in-depth understanding of the behaviors.

Determining which method is better?

Determining which method should be given priority over the other isn’t an easy task. Both have some pros and cons. If your research requires giving results in numerical form then you should choose quantitative research. But, if you want to give a detailed in-depth description in the form of text or figures you should use qualitative research.


In short, some studies require the use of both quantitative as well as qualitative methods. Some require only quantitative and vice versa. Depending upon the requirements of the research one should choose which method to choose.

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