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Flashcards in Methodologies Deck (14)
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Quantitative Method

enable the collection of very specific data from a sample of the
relevant population. The findings may then be extrapolated for the whole population under study. With a quantitative method, information is collected by counting, and is able to be collated into percentages and then represented by tables and graphs.
While the ease of collating data gathered through quantitative methods has its advantages for the researcher, it must be remembered that quantitative methods:
do not allow the researcher to interact closely or personally with those being questioned; the process is impersonal and as objective as possible
rely heavily on the researcher’s ability to develop a non-biased set of research questions or items in order to record data within the selected sample.
Qualitative methods
Researchers collect data that can be measured, counted or quantified, resulting in a statistical report. The focus of quantitative research is WHAT and HOW MANY.

Main features
Large and randomly selected sample of respondents who represent the particular population of interest
Structured data collection instrument, with closed-ended or rating-scale questions
Quantities and trends identified; comparisons can be made
Researcher is not necessarily known to the participants
Participant characteristics can be hidden from the research
Lack of direct contact with
the sample assists detachment of the researcher; however, care still needs to be taken in construction of the instrument to ensure that the researcher is aware of potential bias that may be built into the questions
Quantifies the findings in numerical data, tables, graphs and diagrams


Qualitative Method

rely on the researcher’s interpretive skills to understand the often complex and detailed data gathered.
Qualitative research is useful:
for studies at the individual or small group level
for finding out, in depth, how and what people are thinking and feeling.
Analysis of qualitative data can be more challenging than analysis of the numbers collected
through a quantitative method.
Analysis of qualitative data requires sorting responses to open-ended questions and interviews into broad themes or categories before the researcher is able to draw meaning or conclusions from the data.
Research methods such as questionnaire and interview can produce both quantitative and qualitative information, depending on how the questions are structured.
Closed questions that require only a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ answer, or questions that allow only a limited choice of responses, produce easily quantified and tabulated data.
Open-ended questions, on the other hand, produce descriptive responses that are qualitative in nature and therefore require categorising and analysing before any understanding can be gained. Researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of an issue by way of open-ended questioning, non-statistical research techniques, or value-based observations. A qualitative investigation focuses on WHY and HOW.

Main features
Usually a small sample and not randomly selected
Interactive process
Participants’ characteristics may
be known to the researcher
Narrative report with conceptual description of behaviour, values, attitudes and beliefs
Contains direct quotations from research participants
Invaluable for the exploration of subjective experiences
Relies heavily on the researcher’s interpretive skills to understand the complexities of findings
Direct quotations from documents and from participants can be utilised



with closed-ended questions or rating scale questions where the findings can be counted and observed as statistics – the data collected can be quantified.


Content Analysis

is used in quantitative research to detect and count, and the data collected in this way can be quantified.


Statistical Analysis

examines statistics to make generalisations and extrapolate trends.



that detects and counts and where the data collected can be quantified.



with open-ended questions gathers opinions and therefore is qualitative in nature.


Content Analysis

as a qualitative method is used to analyse and interpret themes, words and images from documents, film, art, music and other cultural artefacts and media. After coding the responses, the researcher analyses, interprets and makes qualitative judgements about meanings of the content.



with open-ended questions is qualitative in nature.


Focus Group

entails the collection of data from an in-depth planned discussion of a defined topic held by a small group of people brought together by a moderator.


Secondary Research

Involves accessing data already produced by other researchers.
The researcher makes a subjective judgement about what material is useful and what is
not for the purpose of the research process. Summaries and syntheses are made of the research findings.


Personal Reflection

is the use of, and evaluation of, personal experiences and values to demonstrate analysis and interpretation of data in the context
of the research focus.


Participant Observation

is where the researcher is immersed in the action being observed and his or her role as researcher is not obvious. Non-participant observation is where the researcher observes the interactions taking place without actively engaging in them. The researcher draws meaning from what is being observed, rather than simply counting specific actions as in
a quantitative observational study. Both participant and non-participant observation can be covert or overt.


Case Study

involves the in-depth study
of a cultural group, which can be any group of individuals who share a common social experience and/or location. Case study is considered a methodology when it combines two or more research methods, such as ‘observation, interview and documentary evidence’, to gather the data.