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Quantitative, Qualitative, and Mix Methods Research Studies
Research studies can take many forms and involves several different steps and strategies. An individual’s research method depends on the topic under study, the objectives, and the available resources. According to Nayak and Singh (2021), research methods can help individuals answer the same research questions or test the same hypothesis; however, the data used to answer the questions will differ. This paper will explore the three common types of research methods: quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods, as well as examine the similarities and differences that exist between them, which impact the decision by the researcher to select them.
Quantitative research methods are research methods used to collect and analyze numerical data. They include surveys, experiments, secondary data analysis, and observational studies. For instance, these methods assist researchers in measuring and describing a population’s characteristics, such as demographics, preferences, opinions, behaviors, and other variables of interest. On the other hand, qualitative research methods are research techniques that focus on the collection of non-numerical data such as interviews, observations, and focus groups (Nayak & Singh, 2021). These methods help individuals to understand underlying motives, opinions, and experiences. Qualitative research methods enable researchers to explore and understand how people think, feel, and act in different contexts. Mixed-method research combines quantitative and qualitative techniques to understand better a research topic. Quantitative methods provide numerical data to conclude, while qualitative methods provide more in-depth insights into the research topic.
The similarities between quantitative, qualitative, and mixed-method research techniques are that all three methods aim to explain a phenomenon. A research study aims to explain an issue impacting society; hence, all three types of research aim to answer a research question. Another similarity between the three methods is that they all produce data that helps answer the research question. While the nature of the data is different, all three methods involve the use of data in the research process. Also, all three research studies collect, analyze, and interpret data to conclude. The three methods have a clear and distinct process that the individual must follow to gather the desired data that helps explain the phenomena investigated.
Likewise, there are several differences between the three research methods. The main difference between quantitative, qualitative, and mixed methods research is the type of data collected and analyzed. Quantitative research uses numerical data, while qualitative research relies on non-numerical data. Mix methods research combines both quantitative and qualitative data to gain a thorough understanding of the phenomenon under study. Quantitative research uses statistical analysis in the data analysis process, while qualitative research uses descriptive analysis. Mixed methods research uses statistical and descriptive analysis (Dawadi et al., 2021). Researchers regularly use qualitative research methods to gain insight into people’s thoughts, feelings, and motivations and produce narrative results. On the other hand, researchers use quantitative research methods to measure and quantify phenomena and test hypotheses, presenting the results in tables, charts, and graphs. Mix method research provides insight, helps test a phenomenon, and presents the results as a narrative or charts.
Dawadi, S., Shrestha, S., & Giri, R. A. (2021). Mixed-methods research: A discussion on its types, challenges, and criticisms. Online Submission, 2(2), 25-36. https://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED611786.pdf
Nayak, J. K., & Singh, P. (2021). Fundamentals of research methodology problems and prospects. SSDN Publishers & Distributors. http://dspace.vnbrims.org:13000/jspui/bitstream/123456789/4653/1/Fundamentals%20of%20Research%20Methodology_Nayak.pdf