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Last Updated: Sep 20, 2017 URL: Print Guide

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Qualitative /Quantitative Research

Qualitative Research Quantitative Research
Purpose Understand and interpret social interactions. Test hypotheses. Look at cause and effect. Predict.
Group Studied

Tends to be smaller, nonrandom. Researchers may get involved in lives of those studied.

Tends to be larger, randomly selected. Anonymity important.
Variables Study of the whole rather than specific variables. A few variables studied.
Type of Data Collected Emphasis is on words. Increasing interest in visual data. Emphasis is on numbers. Variables.
Form of Data Collected

In-depth interviews, participant observation, field notes, and open-ended questions.

Data based on precise measurement using structured and validated data-collection instruments

Type of Data Analysis

Use descriptive data; search for patterns, themes, and holistic features; appreciate difference/variation.

Identify statistical relationships among variables.
Objectivity / Subjectivity Subjectivity is expected. Objectivity is critical.
Role of Researcher Researcher is central to any study. Interpretations are based on researcher's experience and background. Researcher tries to remain outside of the system, keeping biases to a minimum.
Nature of Reality/Truth Multiple realities; subjective. Single reality; objective.
Nature of Observation Study groups and individuals in natural settings; attempt to understand perspectives. Study behavior under controlled conditions; isolate the causal effect of single variables.
Scientific method "Bottom-up." The researcher generates hypotheses from data collected during fieldwork. "Top-down." The researcher tests hypotheses and theory with data.
Final Report Informal narrative. Formal statistical report.




See also:

Preparing Literature Reviews: Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches - M. Ling Pan
Call Number: 808.066 P187p
Publication Date: 2013, 4th edition

1. Introduction to qualitative and quantitative reviews
2. Selecting a topic for review
3. Searching for literature in professional journals
4. Retrieving and evaluating information from the Web
5. Evaluating and interpreting research literature
6. Taking notes and avoiding unintentional plagiarism
7. Preparing a topic outline for the first draft
8. Writing the first draft: basic principles
9. Writing the first draft: optional techniques
10. Writing the first draft: statistical issues in qualitative reviews
11. Building tables to summarize literature
12. Revising and refining the first draft
13. Writing titles and abstracts
14. Preparing a reference list
15. Introduction to meta-analysis
16. A closer look at meta-analysis

Checklist of Guidelines --

Model Literature Reviews --

Qualitative literature reviews:
1. Spirituality among African American Women living with HIV/AIDS
2. Subjective evaluations of alcohol consequences and changes in drinking behavior
3. Predicting marital separation from parent-child relationships
4. The effect of socialization and information source on financial management behavior
5. Waterpipe smoking among college students in the United States

Quantitative literature reviews (Meta-analyses):
6. Factors affecting the extent of Monday blues
7. Cognitive bibliotherapy for depression: a meta-analysis
8. Project D.A.R.E. outcome effectiveness revisited

A. Qualitative versus quantitative research
B. Quality control in qualitative research


SAGE Encyclopedia of Communication Research Methods, The


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