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What Is The Distinction Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research?

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  • Essay length: 2131 words
  • Submitted: 19/06/2006
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University Degree Social Theory

The first 200 words of this essay...

- Tom Butcher

What Is The Distinction Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research?

The distinction between qualitative and quantitative research is commonly made.

Quantitative research is sometimes referred to as statistical or sometimes (somewhat sloppily) as empirical research.

Qualitative research is sometimes referred to as the sociological approach to research.

Elsewhere the distinction is often made between certain research methods as either being Qualitative or Quantitative.

For example Interviewing, Participant Observation and Documentary Analysis are often referred to as Qualitative research methods.

The use of Surveys and Statistical data is referred to as Quantitative.

These distinctions do have a fair degree of truth to them. However as we will see later they do not hold true in all cases. What are commonly thought of as used in purely Qualitative research can be part of Quantitative research programmes and vice versa.

In this lecture we are going to look at this distinction between qualitative and quantitative research. After looking at brief definitions of each we are going to look at what the goals of social research are. This will allow us to reflect on how both qualitative and quantitative

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