What is qualitative and quantitative data pdf

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what is qualitative and quantitative data pdf

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Published on April 12, by Raimo Streefkerk. Revised on February 15, When collecting and analyzing data, quantitative research deals with numbers and statistics, while qualitative researc h deals with words and meanings.

What is Qualitative in Qualitative Research

What is qualitative research? We define qualitative research as an iterative process in which improved understanding to the scientific community is achieved by making new significant distinctions resulting from getting closer to the phenomenon studied.

This formulation is developed as a tool to help improve research designs while stressing that a qualitative dimension is present in quantitative work as well. Additionally, it can facilitate teaching, communication between researchers, diminish the gap between qualitative and quantitative researchers, help to address critiques of qualitative methods, and be used as a standard of evaluation of qualitative research.

If we assume that there is something called qualitative research, what exactly is this qualitative feature? And how could we evaluate qualitative research as good or not? Is it fundamentally different from quantitative research? In practice, most active qualitative researchers working with empirical material intuitively know what is involved in doing qualitative research, yet perhaps surprisingly, a clear definition addressing its key feature is still missing.

If not, they are likely to stop experimenting with it. Third, they require learning to savor the feelings related to its consumption — to develop an acquired taste. Another central aspect derived through the common-to-all-research interplay between induction and deduction Becker , is that during the course of his research Becker adds scientifically meaningful new distinctions in the form of three phases—distinctions, or findings if you will, that strongly affect the course of his research: its focus, the material that he collects, and which eventually impact his findings.

In this study the increased understanding of smoking dope is a result of a combination of the meaning of the actors, and the conceptual distinctions that Becker introduces based on the views expressed by his respondents. Understanding is the result of research and is due to an iterative process in which data, concepts and evidence are connected with one another Becker The main reason behind this article lies in the paradox, which, to put it bluntly, is that researchers act as if they know what it is, but they cannot formulate a coherent definition.

Sociologists and others will of course continue to conduct good studies that show the relevance and value of qualitative research addressing scientific and practical problems in society. However, our paper is grounded in the idea that providing a clear definition will help us improve the work that we do. Among researchers who practice qualitative research there is clearly much knowledge. We suggest that a definition makes this knowledge more explicit. There is a strong core in qualitative research, and leading researchers tend to agree on what it is and how it is done.

Our critique is not directed at the practice of qualitative research, but we do claim that the type of systematic work we do has not yet been done, and that it is useful to improve the field and its status in relation to quantitative research. Strauss and Corbin , for example, as well as Nelson et al. This confusion, as he has recently further argued Hammersley , is also salient in relation to ethnography where different philosophical and methodological approaches lead to a lack of agreement about what it means.

Others e. Hammersley , zooming in on one type of qualitative research, ethnography, has argued that it is under treat. While this increasing centrality [of qualitative research] might lead one to believe that consensual standards have developed, this belief would be misleading.

As the methodology becomes more widely accepted, querulous challengers have raised fundamental questions that collectively have undercut the traditional models of how qualitative research is to be fashioned and presented Hammersley discusses some more or less insufficient existing definitions of ethnography. The current situation, as Hammersley and others note—and in relation not only to ethnography but also qualitative research in general, and as our empirical study shows—is not just unsatisfactory, it may even be harmful for the entire field of qualitative research, and does not help social science at large.

We suggest that the lack of clarity of qualitative research is a real problem that must be addressed. Seen in an historical light, what is today called qualitative, or sometimes ethnographic, interpretative research — or a number of other terms — has more or less always existed.

Swedberg , we can at least speak of qualitative forerunners. If we look through major sociology journals like the American Sociological Review , American Journal of Sociology , or Social Forces we will not find the term qualitative sociology before the s. Indeed, the Chicago School often combined qualitative and quantitative data within the same study Fine Our point being that before a disciplinary self-awareness the term quantitative preceded qualitative, and the articulation of the former was a political move to claim scientific status Denzin and Lincoln As a result the attempts and practice of integrating qualitative and quantitative sociology at Chicago lost ground to sociology that was more oriented to surveys and quantitative work at Columbia under Merton-Lazarsfeld.

This glimpse into history leads us back to the lack of a coherent account condensed in a definition of qualitative research. Many of the attempts to define the term do not meet the requirements of a proper definition: A definition should be clear, avoid tautology, demarcate its domain in relation to the environment, and ideally only use words in its definiens that themselves are not in need of definition Hempel A definition can enhance precision and thus clarity by identifying the core of the phenomenon.

Preferably, a definition should be short. The typical definition we have found, however, is an ostensive definition, which indicates what qualitative research is about without informing us about what it actually is :.

Qualitative research is multimethod in focus, involving an interpretative, naturalistic approach to its subject matter. This means that qualitative researchers study things in their natural settings, attempting to make sense of, or interpret, phenomena in terms of the meanings people bring to them.

Denzin and Lincoln Moreover, whatever it is, it has grown dramatically over the past five decades. In addition, courses have been developed, methods have flourished, arguments about its future have been advanced for example, Denzin and Lincoln and criticized for example, Snow and Morrill , and dedicated journals and books have mushroomed. Most social scientists have a clear idea of research and how it differs from journalism, politics and other activities. But the question of what is qualitative in qualitative research is either eluded or eschewed.

We maintain that this lacuna hinders systematic knowledge production based on qualitative research. Additionally, quantitative researchers sometimes unfairly criticize the first based on their own quality criteria. Scholars like Goertz and Mahoney have successfully focused on the different norms and practices beyond what they argue are essentially two different cultures: those working with either qualitative or quantitative methods.

Instead, similarly to Becker who has recently questioned the usefulness of the distinction between qualitative and quantitative research, we focus on similarities. A third consequence is providing an opening for critiques by scholars operating within different traditions Valsiner Relatedly, the National Science Foundation in the US organized two workshops in and to address the scientific foundations of qualitative research involving strategies to improve it and to develop standards of evaluation in qualitative research.

We agree with many of the arguments put forward, such as the risk of methodological tribalism, and that we should not waste energy on debating methods separated from research questions. In this article we accomplish three tasks.

First, we systematically survey the literature for meanings of qualitative research by looking at how researchers have defined it. Drawing upon existing knowledge we find that the different meanings and ideas of qualitative research are not yet coherently integrated into one satisfactory definition. These themes — which we summarize in terms of four keywords: distinction, process, closeness, improved understanding — constitute part of our literature review, in which each one appears, sometimes with others, but never all in the same definition.

They serve as the foundation of our contribution. Our categories are overlapping. Their use is primarily to organize the large amount of definitions we have identified and analyzed, and not necessarily to draw a clear distinction between them. Finally, we continue the elaboration discussed above on the advantages of a clear definition of qualitative research. It should be noted that we have zoomed in on sociology and its literature. In an ideal situation we should expect that one good definition, or at least some common ideas, would have emerged over the years.

This common core of qualitative research should be so accepted that it would appear in at least some textbooks. Since this is not what we found, we decided to pursue an inductive approach to capture maximal variation in the field of qualitative research; we searched in a selection of handbooks, textbooks, book chapters, and books, to which we added the analysis of journal articles.

Our sample comprises a total of 89 references. In practice we focused on the discipline that has had a clear discussion of methods, namely sociology. We also conducted a broad search in the JSTOR database to identify scholarly sociology articles published between and in English with a focus on defining or explaining qualitative research. We specifically zoom in on this time frame because we would have expect that this more mature period would have produced clear discussions on the meaning of qualitative research.

Within each of these we selected the first article; then we picked the second article of three prior issues. Again we went back another three issues and investigated article number three. Finally we went back another three issues and perused article number four. This selection criteria was used to get a manageable sample for the analysis. The coding process of the 89 references we gathered in our selected review began soon after the first round of material was gathered, and we reduced the complexity created by our maximum variation sampling Snow and Anderson to four different categories within which questions on the nature and properties of qualitative research were discussed.

If the selection process of the material — books and articles — was informed by pre-knowledge, we used an inductive strategy to code the material. The coding ended when a sense of saturation in the material arose.

In the presentation below all quotations and references come from our empirical material of texts on qualitative research. In this section we describe the four categories we identified in the coding, how they differently discuss qualitative research, as well as their overall content. Some salient quotations are selected to represent the type of text sorted under each of the four categories. What we present are examples from the literature.

This analytic category comprises quotations comparing qualitative and quantitative research, a distinction that is frequently used Brown ; in effect this is a conceptual pair that structures the discussion and that may be associated with opposing interests.

While the general goal of quantitative and qualitative research is the same — to understand the world better — their methodologies and focus in certain respects differ substantially Becker Quantity refers to that property of something that can be determined by measurement. But it should be obvious that one could employ a quantitative approach when studying, for example, art history. Qualitative Analysis. Qualitative research uses a variety of methods, such as intensive interviews or in-depth analysis of historical materials, and it is concerned with a comprehensive account of some event or unit King et al.

Like quantitative research it can be utilized to study a variety of issues, but it tends to focus on meanings and motivations that underlie cultural symbols, personal experiences, phenomena and detailed understanding of processes in the social world. In short, qualitative research centers on understanding processes, experiences, and the meanings people assign to things Kalof et al.

Hood, for instance, argues that words are intrinsically less precise than numbers, and that they are therefore more prone to subjective analysis, leading to biased results Hood Qualitative methodologies have raised concerns over the limitations of quantitative templates Brady et al.

Scholars such as King et al. Also, researchers such as Becker ; —43 have asserted that, if conducted properly, qualitative research and in particular ethnographic field methods, can lead to more accurate results than quantitative studies, in particular, survey research and laboratory experiments. Some researchers, such as Kalof, Dan, and Dietz claim that the boundaries between the two approaches are becoming blurred, and Small argues that currently much qualitative research especially in North America tries unsuccessfully and unnecessarily to emulate quantitative standards.

For others, qualitative research tends to be more humanistic and discursive King et al. Some claim that quantitative data can be utilized to discover associations, but in order to unveil cause and effect a complex research design involving the use of qualitative approaches needs to be devised Gilbert Consequently, qualitative data are useful for understanding the nuances lying beyond those processes as they unfold Gilbert Others contend that qualitative research is particularly well suited both to identify causality and to uncover fine descriptive distinctions Fine and Hallett ; Lichterman and Isaac Reed ; Katz There are other ways to separate these two traditions, including normative statements about what qualitative research should be that is, better or worse than quantitative approaches, concerned with scientific approaches to societal change or vice versa; Snow and Morrill ; Denzin and Lincoln , or whether it should develop falsifiable statements; Best

Qualitative and Quantitative Research

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Home Consumer Insights Market Research. Qualitative data is defined as the data that approximates and characterizes. Qualitative data can be observed and recorded. This data type is non-numerical in nature. This type of data is collected through methods of observations, one-to-one interviews, conducting focus groups , and similar methods.

Researchers often have issues choosing which research method to go with: quantitative or qualitative research methods? Many incorrectly think the two terms can be used interchangeably. Qualitative research is regarded as exploratory and is used to uncover trends in thoughts and opinions, while quantitative research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. At the end of this article, you will understand why you should consider using quantitative research instead of qualitative method in your research surveys. Qualitative research is a process of real-life inquiry that aims to understand social phenomena.


PDF | The chapter illuminates the values of understanding the focus of qualitative and quantitative research approaches, their relevance to.


Qualitative vs. quantitative research

Research is an important part of operating a business. Whether the research is for marketing purposes or to determine future possible growth, research helps a business plan its course. Two types of research are the most popular forms a business uses.

Researchers often have issues choosing which research method to go with: quantitative or qualitative research methods? Many incorrectly think the two terms can be used interchangeably. Qualitative research is regarded as exploratory and is used to uncover trends in thoughts and opinions, while quantitative research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. At the end of this article, you will understand why you should consider using quantitative research instead of qualitative method in your research surveys. Qualitative research is a process of real-life inquiry that aims to understand social phenomena.

The distinction between qualitative and quantitative research methods is problematic

Quantitative Research Design Pdf Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by way of generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into usable statistics. Hoffart, Nancy; Woods, Cynthia Q.

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An example is reputation, an intangible asset that senior executives often cite as the most. Qualitative methods of research and analysis provide added value in identifying and exploring As a result, smaller sample sizes chosen purposefully can be used for the following reasons Qualitative data is a data concerned with descriptions, which can be observed but cannot be computed. An important but neglected problem for this research approach is the question of how to choose the cases for deeper investigation. Why quantitative and qualitative user research is important: 3 use cases Research is the backbone of testing.

What is qualitative research? We define qualitative research as an iterative process in which improved understanding to the scientific community is achieved by making new significant distinctions resulting from getting closer to the phenomenon studied. This formulation is developed as a tool to help improve research designs while stressing that a qualitative dimension is present in quantitative work as well. Additionally, it can facilitate teaching, communication between researchers, diminish the gap between qualitative and quantitative researchers, help to address critiques of qualitative methods, and be used as a standard of evaluation of qualitative research. If we assume that there is something called qualitative research, what exactly is this qualitative feature? And how could we evaluate qualitative research as good or not? Is it fundamentally different from quantitative research?

Combine qualitative and quantitative data

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