Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research Methods
For undergraduate research students – Dr. Anthony Curtis, Department of Mass Communication, University of North Carolina at Pembroke
The similarities and differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods can be confusing. Here is a simplified explanation.
The first thing to do in any research project is conceive, clarify and write a research question. After composing the research question, you compose a research plan, which includes the research method or methods you think would be best in answering the question.
- In quantitative research, you generally end up with data reduced to numbers, which are analyzed using statistics. Frequently, quantitative research is used to support or expand a theory that already exists.
- In qualitative research, you usually don't end up with numbers. Instead, you will describe and analyze a phenomenon using words. Sometimes, qualitative research is used to develop new theory that didn't exist before.
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