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 What do you see as the main differences between these two approaches? qualitative and...

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annarose44 | eNoter

Posted July 18, 2010 at 4:45 AM via web

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 What do you see as the main differences between these two approaches? qualitative and quantitative

discuss the two methodological approaches, qualitative and quantitative. What do you see as the main differences between these two approaches? What are some of the advantages and disadvantages of each approach? How might you identify whether a journal article is qualitative or quantitative?

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pohnpei397 | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted July 18, 2010 at 5:32 AM (Answer #1)

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If you are just talking about these types of approach in general social science research, qualitative research is less accurate and "provable" whereas quantitative research can be less true to the reality of the situation that you are studying.

For example, quantitative researchers in political science might study the impact of the demographics of Congresspeople's districts on their votes.  They would do this using pure numbers.  They could then claim to demonstrate that the level of income in the district had a 50% impact on the way the representative voted on some issue.  A qualitative research project would not use numbers so much.  It would interview Congresspeople, perhaps, to ask what influences them to vote the way that they do.

In this case, the qualitative interview subjects might not be aware of the impact of their constituents' incomes on their votes.  Or they might not want to admit it.  This would make the quantitative approach more accurate.  However, it might not be useful to know the statistical correlation between income and vote.  It might be more useful to know what the representatives think they are doing and what thoughts actually go on in their heads.  In this way, the qualitative approach might do a better job of portraying the human aspect of the decisions that are being made.

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rmjengi | High School Teacher | eNotes Newbie

Posted July 18, 2010 at 8:23 AM (Answer #2)

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The main differences between the two approaches are – 1. A quantitative study consists of numbers and statistics. 2. To speak of a qualitative study, you speak of how good or how bad the results are. If you approach a study statistically, then all you have to worry about are your stats. For example, are there more 50 year olds Americans smoking than 20 year olds Americans smoking? Now you don’t have to worry about who is leading a healthier life because to create that question would mean you’re taking a qualitative approach and you would worry about numbers later to see where they fall. The advantage in a quantitative approach such as the aforementioned is that you would know the difference statistically depending on whose numbers were higher or lower and you could break it down again quantitatively by gender, by demographics, and by ethnicity but it would not make a qualitative statement on who was healthier and that would be a disadvantage meaning this, the unbiased quality results might surprise you and that type of surprise could happen in any study. The advantage qualitatively polling the same number of people on both sides of the question would just tell you who was healthier but it would not give you a decisive statistic on whether there were more 50 year old Americans smoking or more 20 year olds smoking. In a journal, the article would consist of statistics and charts quantitatively as opposed to the degree of healthiness between the age groups, qualitatively.


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