Qualitative Research or Quantitative Research - Which is better and why?

Essay by jburns08University, Bachelor'sB+, April 2009

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Both qualitative and quantitative research methods have their specific qualities which make them useful to a researcher, however in the course of this short essay I will explain why, for several reasons, qualitative research is better. As both methods operate within different assumptions, it is important to stem criticism for each method's respective theoretical base in order to adequately judge them. In the course of this essay I will highlight each method's theoretical assumptions and then I will assess each method by pointing out their positive and negative factors.

The underlying assumption behind qualitative research is that the entire subject needs to be examined in order to understand the phenomenon. Quantitative research however, places importance in collecting and analyzing data from parts of a trend and in so doing, can miss important aspects which could lead to a complete understanding of the whole phenomenon.

'There's no such thing as qualitative data.

Everything is either 1 or 0'(Fred Kerlinger: 1999)Unlike quantitative research, there is no overarching framework for how qualitative research should be conducted; rather each type of qualitative research is guided by the particular philosophical stances that are taken in relation by the research to each phenomenon (Miles & Huberman: 1994, p. 40) This enables qualitative research to be more involved with the subject at hand whereas quantitative research has the same rules which it applies to every subject matter, thus making it easier to overlook important evidence.

As the researcher using qualitative methods becomes entirely immersed in the data collection phase of the project, he himself actually becoming the data collection tool as opposed to the questionnaires and equipment used by quantitative researchers, it allows him to gain a better understanding of the subject matter as a whole and observe the subject in its own environment:Human behaviour is significantly...