Qualitative and quantitative research methods

Qualitative and quantitative research methods



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Qualitative and quantitative research methods have their separate and distinct characteristics. Whereas qualitative works are mostly descriptive and analytic, quantitative research works usually rely on statistics, numbers and mathematical data in the presentation of research findings and analyses. Furthermore, quantitative research is always a product of controlled experiments carried out following already-outlined rules in a structured environment. Used separately, each has its own advantages and disadvantages. Many research works combine both methods. Advocates of this combination believe that doing so enhances the validity and reliability of the resultant research.

This student believes that using the qualitative and quantitative methods together will have some advantages and disadvantages. On a positive note, a combined use of both research methods will afford researchers an opportunity to adopt a holistic approach to the study and analysis of any relevant research topic. Furthermore, combining qualitative and quantitative methods will be very cost-effective. Much-needed funds which could have been wasted via split researches can be saved and used for something else. That is not all. Qualitative research inculcates a lot of subjective material while quantitative research uses mostly objective data (Grove, Gray & Burns, 2015). Combining both affords the reader greater and more effective opportunity to critique the research findings. The reader may choose to concur or disagree with the research results after reviewing qualitative and quantitative analyses of the relevant subject matter.

On the negative side, adopting qualitative and quantitative approaches in the same research work may be temporally challenging. Quantitative researches take a long time depending on the subject matter and already-designated time. This time may be doubled if the qualitative method is included in the same work. Again, straddling both research methods may lead to poor output by a researcher. The inability to concentrate or focus on one approach may lead to a shoddy treatment of the subject matter. Lastly, a combination of both approaches may require more personnel for the analysis of data. The increase in personnel will come with corresponding consequences that may have far-reaching implications for the study.

As an Illustration, Peter, Devi & Nayak (2018) is a quantitative research carried out in India which sought to among other things, find a link between non-adherence to sterile techniques by nurses in Indian hospitals and urinary tract infections. The study was able to substantiate the hypothesis developed by the researchers. However, the researchers would have been able to produce a better study if the qualitative method was included even if minimally. This would have created more room for the researchers to outline their individual observations and other subjective but empirical data.