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Qualitative Research

Purpose: explore, explain, gain understanding of underlying reasons, uncover trends

Approach: inductive, value-laden/subjective, holistic, process-oriented

Hypotheses: tentative, evolving, based on the particular study

Setting: naturalistic, as much as possible

Sampling: for the purpose, not necessarily representative, small sample size

Measurement: narrative, ongoing

Design and Method: Non-intervention, minimal disturbance, such as historical, ethnographic, or case studies; focus groups; interviews; participation/observation

Data Analysis: raw data is words, not numbers


Quantitative Research

Purpose: quantify a problem by generating numerical data

Hypotheses: based on previous studies, ask questions that require numerical answers 

Sampling: ideally randomized; larger sample sizes that represent a population

Measurement: objective, can be replicated/repeated

Design and Method: surveys, longitudinal studies, systematic observations

Data Analysis: raw data is numbers; analyzed using statistics; results generalized to larger population