Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods Each Have Trade-Offs

There are trade-offs between quantitative and qualitative methods; quant methods offer scale and focus on causation, but sacrifice coherence and focus. They demand more of the consumer of the research in terms of sensemaking. Qual methods, meanwhile, offer that coherence and focus, but lack scale and the same sense of causation.

Quantitative analysis is not inherently more reliable than qualitative data Today, there tends to be a bias toward quantitative methods. But neither method is inherently superior.. Rather, they represent different philosophies of knowledge, and help us learn about different things.

Qualitative research seeks contextual understanding while qualitative research quantifies the presence of something.Qualitative research excels at explanation, and helps us create new mental models. Quantitative research tells us about amounts, scale, and prevalence, among other measurable points of information.

Qualitative research tends to be divergent, and quantitative research convergent. Qualitative research is more flexible and open-ended, because sensemaking occurs after data is collected.


Related

Citations

Ladner, Sam. Mixed Methods: A Short Guide to Applied Mixed Methods Research. Sam Ladner, 2019.


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