A comprehensive analysis of articles published in the top two American sociology journals between and found that roughly two thirds of these articles used quantitative method.
Quantitative research is generally closely affiliated with ideas from 'the scientific method' , which can include:. Quantitative research is often contrasted with qualitative research , which purports to be focused more on discovering underlying meanings and patterns of relationships, including classifications of types of phenomena and entities, in a manner that does not involve mathematical models. Although a distinction is commonly drawn between qualitative and quantitative aspects of scientific investigation, it has been argued that the two go hand in hand.
Although quantitative investigation of the world has existed since people first began to record events or objects that had been counted, the modern idea of quantitative processes have their roots in Auguste Comte 's positivist framework. Positivist scholars like Comte believed only scientific methods rather than previous spiritual explanations for human behavior could advance.
Quantitative methods are an integral component of the five angles of analysis fostered by the data percolation methodology,  which also includes qualitative methods, reviews of the literature including scholarly , interviews with experts and computer simulation, and which forms an extension of data triangulation. Quantitative methods have limitations. These studies do not provide reasoning behind participants' responses, they often do not reach underrepresented populations, and they may span long periods in order to collect the data.
Statistics is the most widely used branch of mathematics in quantitative research outside of the physical sciences, and also finds applications within the physical sciences, such as in statistical mechanics. Statistical methods are used extensively within fields such as economics, social sciences and biology. Quantitative research using statistical methods starts with the collection of data, based on the hypothesis or theory. Usually a big sample of data is collected — this would require verification, validation and recording before the analysis can take place.
Causal relationships are studied by manipulating factors thought to influence the phenomena of interest while controlling other variables relevant to the experimental outcomes. In the field of health, for example, researchers might measure and study the relationship between dietary intake and measurable physiological effects such as weight loss, controlling for other key variables such as exercise.
Quantitatively based opinion surveys are widely used in the media, with statistics such as the proportion of respondents in favor of a position commonly reported. In opinion surveys, respondents are asked a set of structured questions and their responses are tabulated. In the field of climate science, researchers compile and compare statistics such as temperature or atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.
Empirical relationships and associations are also frequently studied by using some form of general linear model , non-linear model, or by using factor analysis. A fundamental principle in quantitative research is that correlation does not imply causation , although some such as Clive Granger suggest that a series of correlations can imply a degree of causality. This principle follows from the fact that it is always possible a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is found in some degree.
Associations may be examined between any combination of continuous and categorical variables using methods of statistics. Views regarding the role of measurement in quantitative research are somewhat divergent. Measurement is often regarded as being only a means by which observations are expressed numerically in order to investigate causal relations or associations.
However, it has been argued that measurement often plays a more important role in quantitative research. Although ethnography was initially concerned with geographic location and ethnicity, the definition has expanded to include pretty much any organization of group, allowing for the study of a particular organization's culture.
The most common ethnographic approach is simply to observe the participants by becoming immersed in the culture, taking extensive notes about observations and impressions. Field research also takes its cues from anthropology but offers a broader approach to qualitative research, in that the researcher will literally go into the field -- or in the case of an organization, within that organization -- to observe the group in its natural state.
In this way, field research is similar to ethnography, since the field researcher will make extensive notes based on his observations. The difference is that a field researcher will go among his subjects, while an ethnographic approach finds the researcher observing from outside the culture.
The notes and data gathered can then be analyzed according to a variety of different criteria. Phenomenology can be considered a philosophical approach to undertaking qualitative research. The goal of phenomenology is to understand how others view the world, and how this view may vary from commonly held views by focusing on a person's subjective interpretations of what she experiences. Phenomenology is done by interviewing the subjects to learn their impressions, and is frequently used in such fields as psychology, sociology and social work.
He provides a concise table of the four methods, the options within each type, the advantages of each type, and the limitations of each. We noted previously that the researcher typically has some type of framework subpurposes perhaps that determines and guides the nature of the data collection.
For example, one phase of the research might pertain to the manner in which expert and nonexpert sport performers perceive various aspects of a game. This phase could involve having the athlete describe his or her perceptions of what is taking place in a specific scenario.
A second phase of the study might focus on the interactive thought processes and decisions of the two groups of athletes while they are playing. The data for this phase could be obtained from filming them in action and then interviewing them while they are watching their performances on videotape.
Still another aspect of the study could be directed at the knowledge structure of the participants, which could be determined by a researcher-constructed instrument. You should not expect qualitative data collection to be quick.
It is time intensive. If you are doing qualitative research, you must plan to be in the environment for enough time to collect good data and understand the nuance of what is occurring. The interview is undoubtedly the most common source of data in qualitative studies. The person-to-person format is most prevalent, but occasionally group interviews and focus groups are conducted.
Interviews range from the highly structured style, in which questions are determined before the interview, to the open-ended, conversational format. In qualitative research, the highly structured format is used primarily to gather sociodemographic information.
For the most part, however, interviews are more open ended and less structured Merriam, Frequently, the interviewer asks the same questions of all the participants, but the order of the questions, the exact wording, and the type of follow-up questions may vary considerably. Being a good interviewer requires skill and experience. We emphasized earlier that the researcher must first establish rapport with the respondents.
If the participants do not trust the researcher, they will not open up and describe their true feelings, thoughts, and intentions. Complete rapport is established over time as people get to know and trust one another.
An important skill in interviewing is being able to ask questions in such a way that the respondent believes that he or she can talk freely. Kirk and Miller described their field research in Peru, where they tried to learn how much urban, lower-middle-class people knew about coca, the organic source of cocaine. Coca is legal and widely available in Peru. In their initial attempts to get the people to tell them about coca, they received the same culturally approved answers from all the respondents.
Only after they changed their style to asking less sensitive questions e. Kirk and Miller made a good point about asking the right questions and the value of using various approaches. Indeed, this is a basic argument for the validity of qualitative research. Skillful interviewing takes practice.
Ways to develop this skill include videotaping your own performance in conducting an interview, observing experienced interviewers, role playing, and critiquing peers. It is important that the interviewer appear nonjudgmental. The interviewer must be alert to both verbal and nonverbal messages and be flexible in rephrasing and pursuing certain lines of questioning. The interviewer must use words that are clear and meaningful to the respondent and must be able to ask questions so that the participant understands what is being asked.
Above all, the interviewer has to be a good listener. The use of a digital recorder is undoubtedly the most common method of recording interview data because it has the obvious advantage of preserving the entire verbal part of the interview for later analysis.
Although some respondents may be nervous to talk while being recorded, this uneasiness usually disappears in a short time. The main drawback with recording is the malfunctioning of equipment. This problem is vexing and frustrating when it happens during the interview, but it is devastating when it happens afterward when you are trying to replay and analyze the interview. Certainly, you should have fresh batteries and make sure that the recorder is working properly early in the interview.
You should also stop and play back some of the interview to see whether the person is speaking into the microphone loudly and clearly enough and whether you are getting the data. Some participants especially children love to hear themselves speak, so playing back the recording for them can also serve as motivation.
Remember, however, that machines can malfunction at any time. Video recording seems to be the best method because you preserve not only what the person said but also his or her nonverbal behavior. The drawback to using video is that it can be awkward and intrusive. Therefore, it is used infrequently.
Qualitative research is a general term that includes several types of qualitative research methods that are employed, in order to provide an adequate explanation for certain phenomena and satisfying answers to the questions that such phenomena may raise.
Qualitative Research Methods with Examples. Qualitative research methods are designed in a manner that they help reveal the behavior and perception of a target audience with reference to a particular topic. There are different types of qualitative research methods like an in-depth interview, focus groups, ethnographic research, content analysis, case study research that are usually used.
Typical qualitative methods include: Focus group – A moderator-led discussion among a group of individuals who share a need, habit, or life circumstance relevant to the research issue(s) at hand. Typically one to two hours in length, a focus group discussion often includes from two to ten respondents. Six types of qualitative research are widely used in business, education and government organizational models. Phenomenological Model Describing how any one participant experiences a specific event is the goal of the phenomenological method of research.
What are some qualitative research methods? The three most common qualitative methods, explained in detail in their respective modules, are participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups. Sampling Methods and Statistics Types of Qualitative Research Main Types of Qualitative Research. Case study. Attempts to shed light on a phenomena by studying indepth a single case example of the phenomena. The case can be an individual person, an event, a group, or an institution.