Archive for November, 2011

which is more scientific Qualitative or Quantitative?

Thursday, November 24th, 2011

The joys of writing another blog while watching the Simpsons J

The definition of science or scientific is the knowledge that is gained from observations, study and experimentations that are carried out, so that researchers are able to answer questions or find out more about what is being studied.

Firstly qualitative research; put simply it explores the why of our area of interest, instead of the ‘how’ like in quantitative research. This can be done through the means of observations, interviews, phone conversations, videos, as well as many other ways. It enables the researcher to get a view of certain conditions, as sometimes the average of the results doesn’t give us insight to individual differences, which can be important as it allows other suffers and even those treating these individuals more knowledge of the various and possible effects.

Unlike qualitative methods, quantitative methods use numbers and analyse them through the use of mathematical or statistical means, such as SPSS which we all know about, and by doing this we are able to explore our hypothesis, something that we do not have in qualitative methods. Instead of looking at specific individuals, this method looks at the relationship between an independent variable and a dependent variable, and what is reported about the relationship between the two needs to be objective.

So just because the qualitative methods doesn’t use numbers or statistics, does it really lose its right to be classed as scientific? quantitative research methods are considered to be clear and powerful, which is a good thing for most things, it allows us to examine and explore all different areas such as affect, individual differences and many more things that quantitative does not do, and could in fact could distort the opinions of the participants. I think it is fair to say that both methods have their uses, a few points for the uses of qualitative methods are things such as gaining insight in individual cases, so that we are able to gain understanding, which allows us to gain a real life information. However, this is not always applicable or necessary for some studies, and this is where the quantitative method comes in handy as it, allows us to see how much of a percentage of Bangor University students like Malibu compared to Vodka, which allows us to generalise to a certain extent to the overall population just for an example.

So I think I have established that they both have their uses in regards to whatever you are wanting to study, and I think if we were just to use quantitative methods we would miss out on a great deal of information in terms of individual cases, therefore I would conclude that they are both scientific in their own right, they both provide us with vital information, just in different forms.

But what do you think?