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Qualitative Research is exploratory research, being used to obtain an understanding of opinions, reasons, and motivations, and helping in developing hypotheses for research. The purpose of qualitative research is to understand the every day reality experienced by people and cultures as much as possible to its participants. Qualitative researchers use various methods in trying to understand how people perceive their social realities and how they act within the social world. Qualitative research methods involve tools such as unstructured interviews which generate qualitative data through the use of open questions, allowing the respondent to talk in depth by choosing their own words, assisting the researcher in developing a real sense of a person’s understanding of a situation.

Quantitative research, on the other hand is regarded to have as its principal aimo the quantification of data, creating numerical information being able to be modifeid into statistics, generalizating results from a mere sample to a population, with the measurement of the incidence of various opinions and views. Quantitative researchers establish common laws of conduct over the span of several contexts, situations or settings. This research engages very rigid and structured techniques such as interviews. Since it is regarded as the polar opposite of qualitative research, allowing free expression from the respondents, quantitative research depends to a great extent on responses to pre-formulated questions.

The principle differences between qualitative and quantitative research consist in data sampling, data collection, data analysis, and their outcomes. While qualitative data tells you why, quantitive data tells you what.

Qualitative data cannot be countable as it has no statistical test, being made up of text, photos, videos, and so on. Nevertheless, quantitative data can be counted as statistical tests are used for analysis, such as structured interviews, surveys and observations, and reviews of records or documents for numeric information.

Qualitative data is generally not structured, not grouped systematically or logically. Qualitative data can be turned into structured quantitative data by various analysis methods such as coding. Qualitative data is usually gathered from a smaller-scale sample than in quantitative data, since one is not looking for statistical importance in qualitative research. These methods empolyed include in-depth interviews, focus groups and also reviews of documents.

Qualitative data is rich, able to give insights about people’s emotions, feellings and thoughts. The data is more subjective: describes a situation or a condition from the point of view of those who are experiencing it. Therefore it’s valid, reliable and less generizable. Quantitative aids a researcher in getting more optimistic and assured on a trend, allowing one to obtain numerical facts. Quantitative data is more objective as it provides observed effects interpreted by researchers. However it can still be valid and reliable, depending on the measurement device used.

(ii) What are their strengths and weaknesses?

The problem of applying both quantitative or qualitative research methods is the adequate validity and the reliability of the data collected.
Qualitative research controls and simplifies data without destroying its context. Qualitative methods have in common the aim of creating new techniques of seeing already existing data. It requires an objective, skill, and concentration, and unless one recognizes it and your purpose is well defined and committed, the task quickly becomes onerous.
Qualitative research suggests plausible relationships, causes and effects, and dynamic procedures. Due to the fact that  a researcher has a very close involvement, one gets an insider’s view of the field, permitting one to find issues that are often missed. By using a narrative and descriptive style, this category of research can be beneficial to a practitioner as one could turn to qualitative reports in order to examine forms of knowledge that might otherwise be unavailable, thereby gaining new insight. It focuses on the humanitarian perspective : what people think and feel, their rationale, their perception and attitude. Being subjective in nature, it only deals with descriptions like human behavior, quality, impact, social interaction, cause and effect, words or objects. Qualitative data is much richer and deeper with because one can actually understand the intent behind action, and not just see the result of it.
The disadvantage of qualitative approaches is that their findings cannot be extended to wider populations with the same degree of that of a quantitative analyses because the findings of the research are not tested to discover whether they are statistically significant or due to chance.
Due to the fact that qualitative data is subjective in its nature, it’s difficult to implement standards of validity and reliability. Since the researcher plays a central role in the generation of data, it’s not possible to reproduce qualitative studies as settings , contexts, conditions, situations and  interactions cannot be replicated. The time required for collecting, analysing and interpreting is lengthy. There is difficulaty in analysing qualitative data and expertise in the area is necessary in order to interpret qualitative data On the other hand, quantitative data is based on measured values and can be checked by others because numerical data isn’t open to interpretation. The quantitative approach views human phenomena as being amenable to an objective study, gathering data in numerical form which can be categorised or measured in units of measurement. Hypotheses can also be tested because of the used of statistical analysis. Since it can be interpreted by statistics, being based on the principles of mathematics, the quantitative approach is viewed as scientifically objective, and rational. The greatest advantage of quantitative research is that it generates reliable data and scales down an intricate problem to a definite number of variables.

Quantitative research involves more planning, which becomes a disadvantage. All aspects of a research study must be designed before collecting any data and great care must be taken when doing so. A researcher needs a concrete hypothesis and needs to know the type of research involved. Related quantitative secondary data is sometime not available to be accessed, and if accessed, it may not be solid enough to explain complex issues.


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