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What are the two types of approaches in research? Explain.

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The two main types of research are qualitative research and quantitative research. Qualitative research is descriptive in nature, because it generally deals with non-numerical and unquantifiable things. A biologist studying symbiotic relationships in nature, for example, would use qualitative research, because the scientist would more often than not be describing behaviors of animals. There might some numerical data in that the researcher would document the number of observations; however, the observations themselves would be descriptive of what the animals do. Anecdotally, when students of mine are first learning about wave interactions, they have to do an experiment that asks them to qualitatively describe what happens when a wave trough meets a wave crest.

Quantitative research is much more numbers-driven. The emphasis is on the collection of numerical data. The conclusion then makes inferences based on that data. A biologist studying population numbers would use quantitative research. Using the same anecdotal lab of mine, students eventually change the frequency of waves to manipulate the wavelength. They can qualitatively describe what happens, but they are also taking quantitative numerical data about the wavelength, amplitude, and frequency of various waves.

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There are two main types of research: quantitative and qualitative research. They are very unique and are performed in different ways to give very different types of information.

Quantitative research is probably what you first think of when you think of research. It uses measurable attributes and information to create numerical data about the population that was studied. For example, a test about whether individuals had fewer cold symptoms on a new medication versus a placebo would be a quantitative study.

A qualitative study inquires about qualities and attributes that are more difficult to measure. You can typically summarize the information numerically in one form or another, but it is less clear. A study tracking and describing the development of a caterpillar into a butterfly would fall into the qualitative category.

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The two basic research approaches are quantitative and qualitative research.  Both types have different purposes. 

Quantitative research is statistics-based.  It involves questions that can best be answered in numbers.  To get the statistics, researchers often conduct experiments or give surveys.  They then analyze the numbers with statistical models to see what the data tells them. 

Qualitative research is description-based.  Qualitative researchers observe and interview people.  They take observations of people or events and analyze it through qualitative methods.  They look for trends, just as quantitative researchers do with statistics, but they don’t use numbers to find them.


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Quantitative Methods

  • the main focus is on measuring 'how much is happening to how many people'.
  • the main tools are large scale surveys analysed using statistical techniques. Quantitative measurable indicators relevant to the pre-determined hypotheses are identified and combined into questionnaires.
  • questionnaires are then conducted for a random sample or stratified random sample of individuals, often including a control group.
  • causality is assessed through comparison of the incidence of the variables under consideration between main sample and control group and/or the degree to which they co-occur.
  • in large-scale research projects teams are composed of a number of skilled research designers and analysts assisted by teams of local enumerators.
  • Qualitative Methods
  • typically focuses on compiling a selection of microlevel Case Studies investigated using a combination of informal interviews, participant observation and more recently visual media like photography and video.
  • questions are broad and open-ended and change and develop over time to fill in a 'jigsaw' of differing accounts of 'reality', unravelling which may be said to be generally 'true' and which are specific and subjective and why.
  • different sampling methods are combined: different purposive sampling techniques, identification of key informants and also 'random encounters'.
  • Causality and attribution are directly investigated through questionning as well as qualitative analysis of data. Computer programmes are used to deal systematically with large amounts of data.
  • typically requires long-term immersion of a skilled researcher in the field who engages in a reflexive process of data collection and analsysis.