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

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Research approaches may be quantitative, or concerned with numbers, statistics, and graphs, or qualitative, in search of in-depth information and insights about nature and experiences. Research may also be inductive, to develop a hypothesis, a generalization from specifics, or deductive, to prove or disprove a current hypothesis.

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There can be more than two research approaches. One research approach is descriptive. This is when a researcher collects relevant facts and information on a specific subject in order to vividly portray or describe what is going on.

For descriptive research in action, consider the work of Norman Finkelstein. Many of Finkelstein’s books center on the conflict between Israel and Palestine. Finkelstein thoroughly researches official reports about the conflicts in order to describe the terror that Israel routinely inflicts on Palestinians. This research approach has generated controversy. People have accused Finkelstein of a number of things, including anti-Semitism.

Finkelstein’s approach might also be called remedial. Finkelstein is undertaking this research in order to change the situation of Palestinians. He’s trying to come up with a remedy for their constant suffering.

It might also be interesting to think about how journalists who cover the MeToo movement use remedial research. They, too, gather and present facts and data in order to change the treacherous conditions that women face on a daily basis at work and in myriad other environments.

A third, bonus research approach to ponder is the historical approach. Here, scholars conduct research in order to create a more dynamic view of history and what truly happened in the past. Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz espouses this approach in her book An Indigenous People’s History of the United States. In this study, Dunbar-Ortiz uses research to show that the relationship between Americans and Indigenous people has not been fully captured by past historians and researchers.

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Research methods can be categorized in different ways, but researchers generally classify their research as either quantitative or qualitative or inductive or deductive.

Let's examine quantitative and qualitative research first. Quantitative research is all about numbers. Researchers collect statistical data to support or refute a hypothesis. A psychologist, for example, might survey a group of people about whether or not they engage in a particular behavior and then calculate the responses numerically to determine a percentage of people who exhibit that behavior and a percentage who do not. Alternately, a chemist might conduct a set of experiments and map the results on a graph.

Qualitative research, on the other hand, seeks more in-depth information and insights about nature and experiences. A psychologist might conduct a series of interviews with a group of people about a particular behavior, not just asking whether or not they engage in it but digging deeply into their reasons for doing so or not. The researcher is seeking a greater understanding of the circumstances rather than merely a statistic. Further, a biologist might observe the habits of a particular group of animals over a period of time to determine the scope of their interactions and to learn more about their instincts and nature.

Research methods may also be classified as inductive or deductive. Inductive research, usually connected with qualitative research, seeks to develop a hypothesis or theory about a situation. It collects specific data and analyzes patterns to come to a generalization. The biologist studying animals uses the specific observations he or she makes to generalize about animal behavior.

Deductive research is often connected with quantitative research, and it seeks to test a hypothesis or theory the researcher has already developed. The chemist conducts experiments to see if they prove or disprove his or her hypothesis about the nature or force of a particular chemical reaction.

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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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