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Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Approach

Last updated date: 02nd Mar 2024
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Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

There are two broad techniques to acquiring and reporting information in the realm of research: qualitative and quantitative approaches. The goal of qualitative research is to gain a deeper understanding of a phenomenon. Using survey methods, the quantitative approach approximates phenomena from a larger number of people. They outline the procedures that are often utilised in each strand of research in this research corner. Each method has advantages and disadvantages and is better suited to particular types of issues.

Qualitative Research Definition

Qualitative Research is used to understand human behaviour, patterns, experiences, intentions, and attitudes; based on the observation and interpretation of people. It is an exploratory technique that deals with complicated phenomena that are not at all possible.

Qualitative Approach

The qualitative approach to data collection focuses on describing a phenomenon in-depth and in detail. In most cases, this is done through interviews, open-ended questions, or focus groups. In most situations, only a limited number of people take part in this type of study because it takes a lot of resources and time to complete. Interviews can be highly structured and directed by open-ended questions, or they can be less planned and more conversational in nature. 

Qualitative research findings cannot be applied to the entire population due to the high cost of conducting this sort of study and the small number of participants. Such study, however, can serve as a springboard for larger studies and more in-depth understanding, which can inform theory, practice, and specific situations.


  • Allows for the discovery of previously unknown occurrences.

  • Can give you a better grasp of how things work.

  • Provides one-on-one assistance and anecdotal information.

  • Provides verbal information that can be transformed to numerical form on occasion.

  • May expose facts that would not have been revealed if the survey questions had been pre-determined.

Quantitative Research Definition

Quantitative Research relies on the science that develops numerical data and creates hard facts. It also establishes the cause and effect between two variables using computational and statistical methods. As a result, the results in this method are precise, labelling it as Empirical Research.

Quantitative Approach

The quantitative method of data collection focuses on characterising a phenomenon over a larger number of people, allowing for the summarization of characteristics across groups or relationships. This method involves polling a large number of people and using statistical tools to identify overarching patterns in the relationships between processes.

More importantly, these surveys can be used by people of all ages. You can compare the two groups on the outcomes you care about and see how much of an impact the training made. It is also quite simple to survey people multiple times, allowing the conclusion that particular characteristics (such as matching) influence specific outcomes (such as happiness or achievement) later in life.


  • Enables the collecting of information from a huge number of people.

  • Can be carried out in multiple groups, allowing for comparison.

  • Allows for population generalisation.

  • Information is provided in the form of a number or a rating.

  • This information is useful for the purpose of enacting policy or recommendations. 

  • Statistical techniques that allow for the determination of relationships between variables are referred to as.

Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research

Quantitative Research

Used for a better understanding of humans, personalities, as well as social sciences. Through this method, one can form patterns and plot graphs that can be applicable to the sampling communities. 

Used to generate numbers using a lot of mathematical, statistical, and logical techniques. 

It has a subjective approach.

It has an objective approach. 

It is holistic in nature and stays honest to the data on which the research is being formed. 

It is particularistic in nature and is often modulated. 

Inductive reasoning is used to synthesize the data in this method. 

Deductive reasoning is used to synthesize the data in this method. 

It involves a process-oriented interrogation. 

It doesn’t involve a process-oriented interrogation. 

Provides an initial understanding of the data.

Provides a final course of action for a problem.

Most of the data is verbal.

All the data is measurable. 

The objective of this research is to discover ideas and be engaged in them.

The objective of this research is to understand the cause and effect between variables.

It is an exploratory research method. 

It is a conclusive research method.

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods  

Data Collection Methods

Quantitative Research:

  • Observations: Observing people where variables can't be controlled.

  • Experiments: Situations in which variables can be controlled but are often manipulated to establish cause and effect relations.

  • Surveys: List of multiple choices that are given to a particular sample in any form.

  • Content Analysis: Systematic recording of themes and words in texts to identify the communication patterns.

Qualitative Research:

  • Ethnography: Participating in a community for a longer period to observe the behaviour or culture.

  • Literature Review: Survey of already published works by others.

  • Interviews: Asking open verbal questions for people to answer.

  • Focus Groups: Discussions between a group of people about one topic for gathering opinions that can be used for research. 

  • Case-Studies: An in-depth study about a group, event, organization, element, or person. 

Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods Examples 

Quantitative Research: 

You conduct a survey at your university with 250 students. You ask them questions like "How satisfied are you with your professor's teaching, on a scale of 1-10?" You then collect the data and perform a statistical analysis to draw conclusions as "On an average, the students rated the professor with 4.”

Qualitative Research:

You conduct in-depth interviews with 15 students. You approach them with questions as, in, "How satisfied are you with the curriculum?" or "What is the most interesting element about your program?" and "What do you think can better your program?” Based on the answers you get, you can either ask to follow up questions for getting clarification or use transcription software to find patterns for providing solutions. 

Mixed Research: 

You conduct interviews to see how students are dealing with their studies. Through both open-ended questions and surveys, you can learn about things that wouldn't usually surface. You will be able to collect new insights so that you can use them on a larger scale. It is also possible to start the survey to get hold of the trends, followed by the one-one interviews to find the reason for these trends

FAQs on Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Approach

1. Why and when do we use quantitative and qualitative research?

Quantitative research aids in the development of hypotheses and concepts, while qualitative research is beneficial for finding trends and events, blended approaches can be used to solve problems in a variety of disciplines. When determining which research method to use, a good rule of thumb is to use quantitative research if you wish to test a theory or hypothesis. If you wish to understand concepts, sensations, or thoughts, you can use the qualitative research approach.

2.Why is the quantitative approach better?

The quantitative approach is the best approach because quantitative research is more scientific, objective, rapid, focused, and accepted, so it is preferred over qualitative research. Qualitative research is employed when the researcher has no idea what the result will be. It's used to define the problem or to come up with a solution.

3.What is a quantitative management approach?

Quantitative management sifts through financial facts, using computers and analytical tools to identify stocks. Managers study past quantitative linkages and combine them into "models" that assist them in-stock selection. The survey done to determine how long it takes a doctor to tend to a patient when the patient goes into the hospital is an example of quantitative research.