Qualitative and Quantitative Research Represent Different Philosophies of Knowledge.

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is more than the kinds or amount of data they work with.

Quantitative research, Sam Ladner writes, "begins with the assumption that reality is a stable, objective thing," whereas qualitative researches view meaning as subjective.

Quantitative research, then, looks to explain reality as it is; qualitative research looks to explain reality as it is interpreted.

Mixed-methods research means combining philosophical points of view. Whereas quantitative researches seek precision and scale, qualitative researchers seek context and human empathy. Quantitative researchers want to know what happened, and how frequently. Qualitative researchers want to know how and why the thing occurred.


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At their core, these two approaches have differing belief systems about how knowledge is created (epistemology) and even more fundamentally, about what is reality itself (ontology).

quantitative research begins with the assumption that reality is a stable, objective thing that can be understood and observed.


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