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What are the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods in Psychology ?

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  • Essay length: 1000 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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What are the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods in Psychology ?

Quantification can be defined as the process of measuring on some numerical basis. That is whenever we count or categorise, we quantify (Coolican, 1990).

Quantitative methods in Psychology are concerned with the measurement and analysis of psychological phenomena. Quantitative psychologists aim to develop and apply mathematical methods of summarising and analysing all kinds of data from various areas of psychology. For example, quantitative psychologists have helped biologists develop mathematical methods of precisely describing the ways in which brain waves change when alcohol is consumed (Bernstein et al, 1991)

Qualitative methods involve emphasising meanings, experiences, descriptions and so on (Coolican, 1990). So whereas the data for quantitative research tends to be numerical or categorical, the data for qualitative research generally consists of descriptions whether verbal recorded interviews and conversations involving experimental subjects or a description of an observed phenomena.

Examples of qualitative research include reports describing and interpreting the ways in which individuals face death and describing how a minority group dealt with assimilation into the majority culture (shaughnessy & Zechmeister, 1994).

Psychological research on the whole is more quantitative than

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