Qualitative and Quantitative Research. What is the Difference?


Qualitative and Quantitative Research. What is the Difference?

Many spheres require data analysis. By conducting research, you can analyze the current results and make forecasts. Such an option is valuable for business owners, marketing specialists, scientists, etc. There are a few research methods you may use to do proper research. In our article, we want to highlight two different types of research: quantitative and qualitative. We are going to describe primary features and peculiarities of each research type, show how to use them in various fields, and specify their pros and cons. The primary difference between quantitative and qualitative research is the kind of data they collect. Quantitative research helps us to see the precise numbers, and qualitative research gives more information about analyzed items in a particular study.

What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research data is important when you don’t need just hard statistics and the list of numbers. It is necessary when the researcher has to dig deeper into the topic. For example, it is required when you want to learn about customers’ preferences and opinions. Qualitative data helps to make a study with different aspects and overall answers. It means that you will analyze various data with quality features instead of numbers.

What is Quantitative Research?

The quantitative research provides you with statistical results and gives plenty of numbers. Probably, the researchers apply this method more often. Many specialists and scientists have to collect statistics about different processes, events, prototype items, human behavior, and more. The analysis of such data requires some skills, such as accuracy and precision.

How to Use Qualitative Research?

This type of research is dynamic, not static. It may change during the process of study. The researcher must analyze and evaluate the context of the received information. For example, if you need to collect surveys about some events, programs, or products, you need the overall answers of consumers. Therefore, it is required to provide consumers with open-ended questions. These questions help to understand their emotions and feelings about the particular item. Moreover, customers may give you suggestions about product or service improvement or modification. In this case, the researcher doesn’t have a precise plan of analysis. During the research, he has to collect as many information as possible to make his study and results detailed and efficient.

Qualitative Research Methods

There are a few research methods that help the researchers to collect qualitative data. We offer you to learn some of them.

  • Focus groups. Modern business owners and marketing agencies widely use this research method. Before starting sales, it is useful to ask prospective customers how do they like the product. In this case, the researcher has to listen to the audience, ask them additional questions, and record their answers for the analysis of the in-depth results.
  • Interview. The researcher may use a discussion that helps to collect qualitative data by asking direct questions to the respondents. He plans the list beforehand so that he may consider all the aspects he is interested in.
  • Surveys with open-ended questions. As we’ve mentioned above, qualitative data requires open questions. If you need to collect comprehensive information, you have to provide customers with a list of topical subjects. They write the answers, give recommendations, and describe their positive or negative experience.
  • Expert analysis. The researcher can ask not only regular consumers but also narrow experts in the specific field. This type of analysis helps to collect essential information and opinion of people who have in-depth knowledge in the particular sphere. This method of qualitative research is valuable in various cases and provides topical results.

How to Use Quantitative Research?

This type of analysis means numbers, a lot of numbers. Statistical data in numerical form is widely used by scientists, marketing specialists, product developers, and so on. We need it to establish general principles of behavior and plan the following steps. Quantitative form of research lets us pick the particular variables and analyze them precisely. The researchers apply it to experiments and theory testing. The received data helps to summarize and control the results of the process. It means that specialists may use it in the decision-making process. It is impossible to develop or modify the specific products if you don’t gather statistical information about it.

How to get quantitative data? The easiest way to collect such kind of information is to create a questionnaire for consumers or developers. In this case, the researcher has to use close-ended questions and provide the respondents with limited variations of answers. You plan the results of quantitative research beforehand and need the exact types of responses. This method is useful if you need to learn the opinion about the product in precise numbers or facts. Change the open-ended question “Are you satisfied with the product, and what would you like to modify?” to the close-ended question such as “What is the best feature of the product you’ve tried: taste, aroma, energy effect or price.” This way, you allow the consumers to share their experience, but don’t need to analyze overall answers with undefined variables.

How to Use Qualitative and Quantitative Research?

Due to the previous information, we are sure that qualitative and quantitative analyses are not the opposite methods. They give different information, but both research types are useful for the improvement of the process, product, or service. The best way to use them is to combine qualitative and quantitative data and results. In-depth analysis of behavior, connections, emotions, motivation, and attitudes helps to gather enough information to grow a particular business or modify the existing processes.

The truth is that each research type has its benefits and lacks. Therefore, the researcher has to pick the particular research carefully and apply it only to analyze the specific data at the particular moment.

  1. Qualitative data is useful, but sometimes it can give too much information that is difficult to interpret. Thus, you have to use it like additional method and gather numerical data and precise facts as well as overall opinions of consumers and their preferences.
  2. Qualitative questions require a lot of time to answer. If the researcher gives the questionnaire with open-ended questions to the respondent, he has to be sure that he has enough time to answer. Therefore, it is crucial to prepare consumers who will participate in the study. They should know that the process is serious and requires extra time to complete.
  3. Quantitative research gives hard facts and numbers. But without this data, it is hard to make a proper analysis. We need quantitative research in every sphere of business. No matter what product or service you have, numerical specification is a must.

Final Thoughts

It is obvious that both quantitative and qualitative research types are essential. These kinds of data help us to collect valuable information about the process we want to analyze. They correctly work together and let the researchers analyze comprehensive data, modify the existing methods, and make excellent decisions.

Collecting qualitative or quantitative data requires specific skills and knowledge. If you want to make a proper analysis of your business, you can ask for professional assistance. Our researchers have enough experience and can successfully run various projects. Tell us about your needs, and we’ll give you an efficient decision.