Can you give me a quantitative title

Comparison of qualitative and quantitative research methods of the survey

Table of Contents

1. Introduction - Why Qualitative Research?

2. Key features of qualitative research

3. Relation of qualitative vs. quantitative research methods

4. Comparison of qualitative and quantitative research methods using the survey as an example
4.1. Qualitative surveys
4.1.1. Features and implementation
4.1.2. Variants of qualitative survey
4.2. Quantitative surveys
4.2.1. Features and implementation
4.3. Comparison of qualitative and quantitative surveys

5. Advantages and disadvantages of qualitative vs. quantitative research methods

6. List of sources

1. Introduction - Why Qualitative Research?

Why qualitative social research? This is the question many social science students ask themselves when it comes to their approach to a problem. Qualitative or quantitative methods - the basic question of how to "tackle" a research object, how to collect which data and how to analyze it, is usually justified nowadays. But the scientific, almost faith-like conviction, which, if necessary, decades ago even with hard bandages, is now more easily motivated for students.[1] The (apparent) attractiveness of qualitative methods is not based on a dogmatic principle, but rather the fear of the difficulty and complexity of quantitative working methods, which convinces the students: The numerically emphasized data of quantitative research, which are analyzed using complicated mathematical procedures, are frightening due to their high workload from. In comparison, the qualitative social research, which primarily uses verbalized or written data, which is then analyzed interpretively or hermeneutically, appears downright seductive. It consists of a multitude of approaches, analysis methods and theories, with which questions about the meaning and connections are sought. By avoiding experimental designs, sampling, and statistical procedures, they seem to promise less work. But is it really the case - are qualitative research methods really the easier way to find a solution in relation to quantitative methods?[2]

In the course of this elaboration, I would like to dedicate myself to this comparison to some extent. After briefly showing the possible uses for qualitative methods and explaining when it makes sense to use them, I would like to outline the key features of qualitative research in the second chapter. Building on this, the third chapter is intended to describe the relationship between qualitative and quantitative research methods in order to compare qualitative and quantitative research methods based on the example of the survey. Finally, in the fifth chapter, the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative methods will be dealt with by means of the differences worked out earlier.

But why should one decide in favor of the qualitative approach at all - what speaks in favor of this, in addition to the alleged simplicity of the methods mentioned at the beginning, which gives an option for the complicated mathematical procedures of quantitative research methods? Qualitative research is characterized by a personal form of data collection and evaluation; it tries to "understand" what is to be researched and not only to classify it, and it appears "almost romantic" in comparison to quantitative methods[3] at. Ultimately, however, it should not be "romance" and "simplicity" that dictate the research method, but the scientific question - it dictates whether one answers it qualitatively, quantitatively or with both as a combination. The following are four starting points[4] where it is advisable to use qualitative methods:

a.) In the inductive approach to a question (i.e. after observing many individual cases or collecting observation data in reality, a generalization / assumption is made) the first step is qualitative, because these methods have a lower degree of generalization and are more objective than other descriptions of everyday life .
b.) If the research topic is confusing, complex, or (partially) unknown, a qualitative approach is advisable for reasons of better objectivity and relevance to the subject.
c.) If you have carried out an analysis using qualitative methods and this is complete, you can also see the overall analysis as complete. This is not possible with quantitative research methods because these more abstract data are more reduced than qualitative ones.
d.) If the structure of a social object has become known through a qualitative analysis, it can be abstracted more highly. In this case, the meaning of the data is retained in a subsequent quantification so that it can be used in abbreviated form for qualitative methods.

In addition to these four scenarios mentioned, there are of course other problems for which qualitative research methods can be used. The reason for this is mainly due to the above-mentioned "romantic"[5] Character, which, however, is closely linked to the core characteristics of qualitative research methods.

2. Key features of qualitative research

Qualitative research is characterized by a multitude of characteristics - it has central principles on which it is oriented, epistemological characteristics that are closely linked to its self-image and special features with regard to the participants and data collection methods. I would like to address the latter explicitly using the example of the survey in chapter four.

The qualitative epistemology is through three dimensions[6] marked:

a.) ontologywhich reflects the understanding of reality
b.) Epistemologywhich represents the questions to be dealt with
c.) methodologywhich the procedure for answering the

the questions to be dealt with

The qualitative approach of the ontology is based on the assumption that every person creates their own individual reality through their experiences with life. This reality is shaped by a personal and internal replication of one's own experiences, which are different from person to person and are shaped socially through interaction with other people. Based on this, a special image of man emerges, which people no longer understand as "objects", who passively accept everything that offers them an objective, constant and external reality. As a result, people become actors who actively deal with their outside world in order to be able to draw their own conclusions from it; They build their own reality into which the researcher tries to empathize and which he tries to experience. The Epistemology however, emphasizes three questions: "How do people make sense of the outside world?", "What consequences do people derive from their replicas of reality for their behavior and how does this happen?" and "How do they communicate their view of reality to other people?" methodology answers these three questions posed by systematically observing the outside world and drawing conclusions based on four steps:

1.) Through direct observation or active questioning of the participants, a subjective picture of the situation is given.
2.) The behavior or statements of the participants are recorded.
3.) The generated logs are interpreted.
4.) The findings are generalized by working out references, which corresponds to an inductive method of gathering experience.

Qualitative social research is defined by these cognitive goals and cognitive methods. She wants to grasp social reality without reducing its complexity. Individual case studies that do not correspond to the numerous surveys with a large number of investigators using quantitative methods do justice to this claim: the complexity and reality remain.[7]

This also marks the supposedly greatest advantage of qualitative research - in addition to the lack of random selection procedures and statistical methods: humans are not perceived as an "object", but as a partner of the researcher, which is why they are also referred to as "participants". This "virtue"[8], this image of man and his reality, distinguishes qualitative research.

3. Relation of qualitative vs. quantitative research methods

The relationship between qualitative and quantitative research approaches can be described as complementary. Both methods of gaining knowledge do not represent rival approaches, although their history contradicts this. They complement each other and serve the same thing - increasing your (own) level of knowledge. Nevertheless, there is sometimes a qualitative relationship between the two approaches, which Fuchs-Heinritz calls an "uncertain, an unnecessarily reverent relationship to the unpopular quantitative methodology"[9] describes.

Before I then compare both research approaches on the basis of their research facilities, I want to refer again to the three epistemological approaches ontology, epistemology and methodology.[10] The understanding of reality of the quantitative methods is the basis of positivism. This assumes that only facts are permitted as a source of scientific knowledge. The ideal of this knowledge is the determination of laws in mathematical form, which is aimed at in the natural sciences and based on experiment, and its goal culminates in the establishment of theories, laws and hypotheses.[11] The principles of positivism are therefore also reflected in the quantitative research methods: They define clearly defined characteristics of the human being, which can be found in all individuals who are also all similar to one another. These features only have different degrees of expression, which the researchers can measure using various measurement techniques and processes and which are expressed numerically. Ultimately, researchers try to transfer existing laws to new situations and consequently to come across new findings. This expansion of the field of knowledge through derivations is also known as deductive thinking. In comparison to qualitative research, the epistemology of quantitative methods does not deal with the questions of "why?" And "how?", But only questions numerically describable values, e.g. through "how much?" The methodology finally takes up the approach of the understanding of reality again by presenting subjective factors, as they are collected with qualitative methods, as potential disturbance variables for the statistical analysis of their processes. She is only interested in her numerical data and not in the self-understanding and reality of the individuals, which can be authentically and complex captured using qualitative methods. However, the differences between qualitative and quantitative research approaches are immense not only in the epistemological area, but also in the design of the research facilities.[12] Every investigation system has six basic dimensions, on the basis of which it collects and evaluates its data: - Design - Type of data


[1] See Mayring (2002), p. 12ff

[2] See Cropley (2002), p. 55

[3] Cropley (2002), p. 55

[4] See Heinze (2001), p. 27

[5] See Cropley (2002), p. 55

[6] See Cropley (2002), p. 37ff

[7] See Heinze (2001), pp. 44f

[8] Cropley (2002), p. 41

[9] Fuchs-Heinritz (1993), quoted from Heinze (2001), p. 29

[10] See Cropley (2002), pp. 39f

[11] Cf. Der Brockhaus multimedia 2002 premium, keyword Ā»positivismĀ«

[12] See Cropley (2002), pp. 21ff

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