Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research |Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research is that qualitative research collects ideas from people and how they feel and think, while quantitative research is used to find the variables through logic, statistics, and method. Mathematical. Qualitative data is in verbal form, while quantitative data is in numerical form, which is measurable.

When you want to do any research, you will find that research can be done in two ways, as explained and differentiated in this article.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Comparison table between qualitative research and quantitative research

Comparison Parameters

Qualitative research

Quantitative investigation

Goal / Purpose

It aims to explore underlying ideas and formulate theories or hypotheses later.

It aims to test theories and hypotheses rather than explore them.


The analysis is carried out through summaries, categories and interpretations.

Analysis is performed using mathematical and statistical analysis


The results are expressed in simple words.

The results are expressed through tables, graphs and numbers.

Number of respondents

Based on only a few respondents

It depends on many respondents to elaborate

Nature of the questions

Use open questions

Use closed or multiple choice questions

Key terminologies

Subjectivity, complexity, context and understanding

American speakers prefer the term to denote students of all ages.

What is qualitative research?

Qualitative research is inquiring about social phenomena within their natural environment. It primarily seeks to understand the reason behind these social phenomena rather than that they already exist. It borrows from and draws heavily on the direct experiences of those affected.

Throughout this type of research, only non-numerical data is collected. This only touches on the description of things rather than their sizes and numbers.

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It deals primarily with symbols, metaphors, features, and definitions instead of actual data. All of these form the basis for future research.

What is quantitative research?

Quantitative research is a concept in both the social and natural sciences. It uses a systematic and empirical approach to investigating the various phenomena. The actual research occurs through mathematical, computational, and statistical techniques. In general, it seeks to offer deeper and more understandable results.

Unlike the qualitative approach, quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements of data and phenomena.

After acquiring the data, it analyzes it through surveys, questionnaires, polls, or by manipulating the current statistical data using computational techniques. The final result, in most cases, is more precise and unequivocal.

Main differences between qualitative research and quantitative research

Key Terminology

These two forms of research differ in the terms used throughout the exercise. Qualitative research uses subjectivity, complexity, context, and understanding, while the quantitative counterpart uses replicability, objectivity, measurement, and testing.

Nature of the questions

The types of questions used to extract the data also differ significantly. In the case of qualitative research, the questions are largely open-ended; that is, they give the interviewee almost no clue as to what the answer might be.

The case of quantitative research, however, is just the opposite.

Number of respondents

Given its narrow scope, qualitative research relies on only a few respondents to generate sufficient amounts of data. However, the extra-wide scope of quantitative research requires that the testimonies of many respondents be taken before a workable conclusion can be drawn.


Once again, these two forms of research differ in the types of languages ​​used to express the final results. The results of qualitative research can be expressed in simple words, while those of quantitative research is expressed in numbers and figures.

Therefore, the former is easier to interpret than the latter.


Different techniques are used to make sense of these two types of research. Qualitative research uses summaries, categories, and interpretations to do so.

As for quantitative research, the analysis is mainly done by mathematical and statistical analysis. These two approaches are quite different in scope and comprehension.

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Objective / Purpose

The general purposes of these two forms of research also differ greatly. Qualitative research has its fundamental objective to explore the underlying ideas and formulate theories or hypotheses later.

However, this is different from quantitative research, which only aims to test theories and hypotheses rather than explore them.


Considering that qualitative research primarily wants or seeks to understand the underlying principles of a given topic, it does not require much experience. Anyone with a basic level of education can take it.

The complicated nature of quantitative research, on the other hand, requires deep expertise to undertake.


Qualitative research is mostly applied in the social sciences as it only seeks to understand the nature and behaviors of the given population. Quantitative research, however, goes deeper. Therefore, it is applied in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.

Research methodology

During the qualitative research process, there is two-way communication between the researcher himself and the objects or target populations. As such, there is hardly any room for ambiguity. Quantitative research, however, studies the object from a distance and without any input from you.

Time Implications

As explained above, qualitative research is a bit shallow. It is faster to implement and will hardly take that long. However, the case is completely different from quantitative research.

Being complicated, it takes a long time to make and publish the findings.

General Character

All factors considered in qualitative research are objective. This means that no theory is formulated in advance. The whole purpose is to know an objective result. Its quantitative research counterpart is subjective, as the purpose is predetermined in advance.

Therefore, it is more likely to produce biased results.

Frequently asked questions (FAQ) about qualitative and quantitative research.

What are the 4 types of qualitative research?

The 4 important types of qualitative research are,

Phenomenology – It is the philosophical study of naturally occurring events. They can be natural phenomena or experiences related to people.

 is the scientific study of the human being and his social environment, culture, and customs.

Grounded theory
 is the methodological process of developing theories based on the systematic collection and analysis of relevant data.

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Case study – It is a study and analysis based on the investigation of a person, event, group, project, or situation.

What are qualitative and quantitative research in sociology?

Qualitative research in sociology is the study and analysis of theoretical facts about human beings and their social and environmental surroundings.

It is carried out based on qualities or factors that cannot be expressed in numerical terms but can only be explained. For example, the study of beliefs, behaviors, and relationships can be called qualitative research.

It is also known as field research, as the process requires direct inspection, observation, and interaction.

Quantitative research is based on collecting and studying numerical or quantifiable data about people or groups. These are things that can be measured and expressed in numerical terms. Aspects such as gender, practices, professions, and opinions are some examples of factors considered for quantitative studies.

Surveys of different types like population surveys or marketing surveys are the best examples of quantitative research.

What is the purpose of qualitative education research?

Qualitative research is widely used in education to improve and improve the knowledge of various doctrines and branches of social sciences and philosophy. Research-based analysis helps institutes train their students in the dynamic aspects of the social sciences.
Qualitative research is also widely used in psychiatry and related branches of medicine. It helps researchers experiment with new and advanced treatment modalities and therapeutic approaches.

Qualitative analysis also helps study various phenomena related to nature, human behavior, and social customs. It also helps scientists and researchers to learn various facts about animals and wildlife. In short, the qualitative study method plays a fundamental role in various fields of education.


We think you have the information you need to undertake your investigative activities with confidence and efficiency.

Now it’s up to you to use the information we’ve provided to do a good job. We can only wish you all the best now!

Courtesy: Queens College of Vocational Education

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