Several arguments for and against both quantitative research and qualitative research exist in debate. Generally, critics regard quantitative research as positivism in nature; as a science and being objective, while qualitative analysis is taken as non-scientific (Howe, 1988). There is an argument that the two must not work together. However, recent trends in research indicate blurring of the two methods and researchers are employing a combination of the two methods (Howe, 1988).
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Quantitative research employs objective knowledge. I regard the testing of a hypothesis. It also comes up with a quantified conclusion, unlike qualitative investigation. An argument exists that qualitative research employs confusing answers to questions, which do not bring in clear distinguishing. For instance, answers to questions regarding what people love can be confusing to answers regarding what they like. This introduces unclear trends and non-substance in decision-making. In addition, it is difficult to compare two issues, occurrences, and circumstances objects in such unclear circumstances. This is in contrast with quantitative research that makes issues clear by introducing numerical ratings with clear-cut comparisons (Howe, 1988).
Rob and John point out that quantitative research is not enough in exploring the question “why” as is the interest of qualitative researchers (Rob and John, n.d.). The fact that these researchers seek to answer the question of that nature, according to them, does not mean that quantitative data is not necessary for this research.
The pure quantitative method lacks the necessary details to explain trends and numbers. Quantitative research introduces cumbersomeness in the handling of numerous data and the general complexity of handling figures and formula. In addition, it can be costly and time-consuming to carry out an analysis of this data (Howe, 1988). This is considering the fact that qualitative data is simpler and less cumbersome to analyze. Howe points out the idea of combining the two to speed up research, save costs and incur other important benefits in research. Ron and John also indicate the inadequacy existing in the quantitative technique of research by noting that it appears so strong to overpower people’s opinion. Quantitative research makes qualitative investigation clearer and more powerful, according to them. This means that qualitative investigation is inadequate.
For data collection and analysis, qualitative study capitalizes on the use of cases and human understanding for the situations inside, while quantitative exploration uses statistics; numbers, and figures to explain and analyze (Rob and John, n.d.). While quantitative mechanisms are beneficial because of precision, some situations are more complex for numerical analysis or explanation (Rob and John, n.d.). Qualitative descriptions sometimes give more meaning to situations than do figures because of the attached explanations. The quantitative investigation may therefore hide deals of information, which is not the case with quantitative, yet the whole idea behind the research is to “know” (Rob and John, n.d.).
Although Hammersley (cited in Rob & John, n.d.) rejects the idea that there is no difference in quantitative and qualitative research as far as artificial and natural research settings are concerned, Rob and John (n.d.) argue that qualitative research contains minimized interventions to what is under investigation, unlike laboratory-tailored quantitative research where this interference would receive more magnification. While quantitative research concentrates on the behavior of objects being studied, qualitative studies the behavior and understands it. Criticism for the Quantitative focus includes a deviation from focusing on the subject of study unlike qualitative, which concentrates on the subject studied.
Howe, K. (1988) Against the quantitative – qualitative incompatibility thesis (or dogmas die hard). Educational Researcher, 17(8), 10-16.
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Rob, M., & John, S. (n.d.) Chapter 2: Qualitative versus quantitative research. Web.