Research methods focus on different types of information, and analyzing the data you gather will look quite different depending on your method.
Quantitative studies typically use structured surveys with multiple-choice questions to collect countable data. Include your experience with qualitative research in your skills section, such as when you conducted a series of interviews to get a holistic view of the situation.
In research, two distinct paths emerge: quantitative vs qualitative research. While quantitative studies delve into objective data, seeking measurable explanations and causal relationships through statistical analysis and experiments, qualitative research embraces the subjective, exploring the meaning and lived experiences through interviews, observations, and textual analysis. This difference in data, methods, and goals shapes how each approach investigates the world around us.
Quantitative research uses surveys, experimental design, and statistical methods. The survey method allows you to collect data from a large group of people simultaneously. It is a fast and cost-effective way to collect data and can be used for multiple objectives. Surveys can be created with different question scales, such as nominal, ordinal, interval, and ratio. It is essential to understand the four measurement scales before designing a questionnaire so that you can create valid and reliable results.
Other methodologies include telephone or face-to-face interviews, structured observations, and document reviews. You can also use existing data, saving you time and money. However, it would help if you verified the authenticity and relevance of any secondary sources you use.
Quantitative research can help you identify and test hypotheses by placing relationships between variables. It can also help you make predictions about future outcomes. For example, quantitative research can be used to conduct a market forecast if you are running a market study and want to measure brand awareness, purchase intention, or customer loyalty.
Qualitative research focuses on human experiences and is typically more subjective than quantitative research. It aims to explore the “how” and “why” questions that are difficult to put into numbers. The philosophical stance that drives qualitative research is that understanding the context and experience of a particular situation can provide insight into its causes, effects, and implications. The three most popular approaches used in qualitative research are participant observation, interviews, and focus groups. You can also use existing documentation, such as reports and articles.
As its name suggests, qualitative research focuses on the how and why. It’s useful when you need to understand the more nebulous aspects of your audience’s experience, such as their opinions or motivations. Qualitative data collection methods include in-depth interviews, focus groups, and observations – essentially any technique allowing participants to show their true feelings without being guided by your questions.
It’s also helpful to collect data that you cannot predict or would be difficult to capture with a questionnaire, such as video content, artwork, or artifacts. Qualitative research methodologies also tend to involve more personal contact between researchers and respondents, for example, with interview transcripts or videos and with the participant in the case of a longitudinal study or autoethnography. This can present ethical dilemmas that may take time to be apparent or quickly resolved with standard research procedures and require moral reflection from the researcher.
Once your qualitative data is compiled, you must analyze it to extract insights. Although several tools are available to assist you in making sense of the data, this process can be difficult and time-consuming, mainly if the data is vast and complex. For example, you can use computer-assisted qualitative data analysis software (CAQDAS) to organize, connect, and code your data, which you can then export and work within your feedback analytics platform.
However, it’s worth remembering that qualitative research results are often subjective and can be influenced by the researcher’s presence or context. This can affect the study’s rigor, and it’s essential to know that you can only sometimes trust what you see in qualitative research. The same is true of quantitative research, but it’s typically easier to replicate because it’s more measurable and structured.
Although qualitative research has advantages, quantitative research offers the ability to collect large amounts of data quickly. This type of research can also be used to test hypotheses and establish patterns on a larger scale. Quantitative research methods are more structured than qualitative ones, which helps ensure that your results are reliable and valid.
In addition, quantitative research allows researchers to utilize a wide range of statistical analysis techniques. This type of research can be beneficial when analyzing behavioral trends, such as customer actions on a website or mobile app. Quantitative research can also be utilized to examine relationships between variables, such as the effects of a new product on consumer satisfaction or the impact of price changes on customer purchasing behavior.
While qualitative and quantitative research methods have advantages, the former is more beneficial when determining what is happening on a larger scale. Quantitative data can provide a snapshot of your customers’ behavior at any given moment, including their demographics, behaviors, and motivations. This data can then be used to make informed business decisions.
Qualitative research, on the other hand, can take time to quantify. However, it offers the flexibility of utilizing more diverse data sources, such as interviews with respondents, notes, and other artifacts. Qualitative researchers can also use data triangulation to strengthen their findings. This research method can also be more prone to subjectivity and bias, leading to inconclusive or inaccurate conclusions.
However, qualitative research can also offer a broader scope of data analysis and is more useful when you want to explore deeper behaviors or attitudes of your target audience. For example, you can use in-depth interviews and focus groups to examine a small group of individuals’ in-depth opinions, attitudes, and beliefs.