Qualitative and quantitative research: what is what?

Each research question has its own research method. For one research question, the answer can best be found by conducting qualitative research. Quantitative research fits the other question better. But what exactly do both methods of research entail? In this blog I will explain that to you.

Qualitative research is aimed at obtaining information about what matters and why. It provides in-depth information by examining the underlying motivations, opinions, wishes, and needs of the research group.

Quantitative research focuses on quantity. It gives you numerical results about a specific group. To speak of representative research, you need a minimum number of participants within your target group who give their opinion. For this, you can draw a sample. When this sample has a specific size and characteristics (depending on the research question), statements can be generalized to the entire target group. For quantitative research, a (digital) questionnaire/survey is primarily used as a method. The answers from the questionnaire are then processed in a data processing program (e.g., Excel or SPSS), after which you can conduct analysis and calculation. Percentages and numbers usually describe the results. In my next blog, I will explain for which answers it is best to do qualitative research and when, on the contrary, it is wiser to choose quantitative research. Would you like to know how to draw a good sample in quantitative research? Read my blog ‘How to draw a sample?’

The following methods are appropriate for qualitative research:

  • Individual in-depth interview or a Duo interview;
  • Group discussion;
  • Observation;
  • Mystery guests.

Quantitative research focuses on quantity. It gives you numerical results about a specific group. To speak of representative research, you need a minimum number of participants within your target group who give their opinion. For this, you can draw a sample. When this sample has a specific size and characteristics (depending on the research question), statements can be generalized to the entire target group.

For quantitative research, a (digital) questionnaire/survey is primarily used as a method. The answers from the questionnaire are then processed in a data processing program (e.g., Excel or SPSS), after which you can conduct analysis and calculation. Percentages and numbers usually describe the results.

In my next blog, When to choose qualitative research and when to choose quantitative research? I will explain for which answers it is best to do qualitative research and when, on the contrary, it is wiser to choose quantitative research.

Would you like to know how to draw a good sample in quantitative research? Read my blog ‘How to draw a sample?