How to know if research is quantitative or qualitative
Quantitative research is useful when you’re looking to gather an overall opinion, given in cold, hard facts, and to prove or disprove a hypothesis.
Qualitative research gives you more feeling and reasoning behind the facts, but it also generates answers that are less predictable and perhaps even off-topic.
It all depends on the application: those carrying out studies in investment banking, scientific research and marketing will have very different requirements.
Imagine you work for a company that wants to survey customers about a new product range. If you use an open, qualitative question such as “How do our products make you feel?”, you’ll invite a wide variety of unique answers that are difficult to quantify, but could be extremely useful if the sample is truly representative of your target audience.
On the other hand, providing customers with a series of closed, quantitative questions (multiple choice, 0-10, yes/no) guarantees that you’re going to have data that is easier to draw more concrete, actionable conclusions from.
Each method has its place and which you use depends on what you want to find out and why.
Why is the knowledge of different research methods important?
Scientists and academic researchers use quantitative and qualitative research to advance our understanding of our history, present and future, whether it’s research for medical applications, for scientific discovery, or literary analysis.
These data research methods are also of enormous value to commercial organisations, as they can provide a greater understanding of customer preferences, current market trends, potential risks and opportunities.
Gaining an understanding of different research methods is a great way to upskill and can help you get a new job or advance within your company.
Given there are numerous ways of acquiring and viewing data, knowing when to apply different research methods and how to analyse data is important. With the right knowledge in your locker, you could be responsible for moving your company in a new direction – it could be the catalyst for bigger and better things.