Research can be divided in three categories mainly: quantitative research, qualitative research and mixed research. There are lot of differences between these major research paradigms. The main difference between quantitative research and qualitative research is that quantitative research purpose is to describe about on-going processes while quantitative research aim is to find cause and effect relationships.
Qualitative research is a term that deals in inquiry employed in social sciences and also in market research and research and service demonstrations by the NGOs. It is a major field of academic research study and the basis of awarding theses and dissertations in the United States and worldwide. It emphasis on how people feel, what they think and what are their choices. It is largely led with discussion around certain concepts or ideas with open questioning. Participants explain their reasons for having certain responses that can reveal underlying motivations, behavioral triggers and associations.
The term quantitative research widely used in natural and social sciences and stands for systematic empirical investigation of apparent and observable phenomena through statistical, mathematical and other computational ways. The purpose is to develop and employ mathematical models, theories and hypothesis regarding phenomena. In social sciences, it is used in economics, marketing, sociology, psychology, community health, health & human development, political and gender science. Qualitative methods produce information only one the particular classes.
- Objective collection of data is required in quantitative research. This is not the requirement in case of qualitative research as data collectors can may communicate with the attendees.
- There is prior research design before start of investigation in quantitative research. In qualitative research it remains flexible and can develops throughout the investigation process.
- Quantitative research data are represented and summarized in numerical form while in qualitative research data is represented in verbal or narrative forms.
- In quantitative research, samples are selected to represent the population. In qualitative research, samples are purposefully selected or single cases are studied.
- Quantitative research and qualitative research purpose is to describe about on-going processes while quantitative research aim is to find cause and effect relationships.
- Breakdown of phenomena is required to studying the quantitative research data. While in qualitative research, phenomena are studied holistically, as a complex system.