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Qualitative Research vs. Quantitative Research: What’s the Difference?


When you set out to find answers to a research question, do you know whether you’ll be better off conducting qualitative or quantitative research? Qualitative research focuses on the meanings and interpretations of data, while quantitative research focuses on numerical data that can be analyzed using statistics and other methods. In this article, you will learn about the differences between qualitative and quantitative research, including how these approaches differ in terms of methodologies and questions they can answer. Let’s get started!

Key Differences

The two main types of research are qualitative and quantitative—and each has its own strengths and weaknesses, depending on what you’re trying to learn from your study. Qualitative research is best for studying subjective topics that can’t be measured in numbers, such as opinions and emotions; it involves conducting unstructured interviews or focus groups with a small number of people.

On the other hand, quantitative research works well for objective topics that can be measured, such as responses to advertisements or how many people visit a website; it involves conducting surveys with a large number of people or collecting data through a large-scale experiment. For example, if you want to know whether your marketing campaign is effective or whether you should tweak your website’s design, you should conduct quantitative research using surveys and/or data analysis software.

Benefits of Both

Qualitative and quantitative research go hand in hand. Although one method of research will not necessarily be better than another, a well-rounded researcher will know both techniques inside and out so they can collect data that best fits their needs. When you understand how qualitative and quantitative research differ, you’ll be able to make informed decisions when it comes to conducting your own personal or professional research projects.

When to Use Which One

If you’re in charge of a project that involves developing new products, collecting data on public opinion, or trying to solve complex problems, then you’ll probably want to use qualitative research. This type of study is good for getting a detailed understanding of something and for gaining insights about why consumers buy certain things or how they feel about specific issues. In contrast, quantitative research—which collects numbers and facts—is ideal for learning more about what people think in general.

If you want to know what people think about something in a general sense, then quantitative research is a good choice because it can help you collect data from more respondents than qualitative research. However, if you want to understand why consumers feel a certain way about something, or if your goal is to gain insights into their attitudes and behaviors, then qualitative research is probably better for your needs.

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