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Quantitative Vs Qualitative Research – Which is better for Decision Making?

Author: Rajdeep Shill

Most of the people who are slightly snobby when it comes to research would say that quantitative research is much more scientific and therefore much better, satisfactory than qualitative research.

Quantitative research is the factual investigation of the research question using scientific methods. The results assembled are numerical, and can therefore be evaluated statistically to answer the hypothesis.  Qualitative research is ended on a much more individual basis. It is the study of social phenomena, and statistics are not used at all.

I can see why some people insist that quantitative research is better than qualitative research.

One reason for this is that it is more scientific. A huge amount of data is collected and then analyzed statistically.  This permits for very little bias, and if 100 researchers ran the analysis on the data they would always end up with the same numbers at the end of it. The researcher also has additional control over how the data is assembled and is more distant from the experiment.

However, in qualitative, the researcher is often the person doing the interview or involved in some other way. This does not let them the outside perspective gained from doing quantitative research. There is also more bias associated in qualitative research. This is because most of the results come from the researcher’s execution of the data. 

On the other hand, there are ways in which the quantitative method is not so good. Yes, there isn’t any bias in the statistical analysis, but because the researchers are trying to answer their hypothesis, this will bias how they look at the results and which parts of the results they present. Just because the statistics are the same, it doesn’t mean that two researchers would write the same report and use the same figures.

It is true that bias plays a bigger part in the qualitative method, but researchers know this. Often many different people will look at the same interview and compare how they have interpreted it, and take the final results from that comparison.

So, in conclusion, I would say that neither method is “the best”. They both have their advantages and disadvantages, and they are both still very useful for research. 

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