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The Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Research Studies Coursework

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Updated: Dec 22nd, 2019

What is Qualitative Research?

The difference between qualitative and quantitative research studies is actually pretty straightforward, quantitative research focuses primarily on numerical analysis and statistics (Lipscomb, 2012). It is usually utilized as a means of examining the question “how much”. This entails attributes that can be assigned/ classified to a particular population based on the results of the research (Lipscomb, 2012).

For example, quantitative research designs can examine how many instances of obesity have occurred within a particular population and how does this correlate with the general accessibility of fast food restaurants within a given area (Lipscomb, 2012).

Qualitative research on the other hand is more exploratory in that it tries to examine and explain particular aspects of a scenario through a more in-depth method of examination (Bansal & Corley, 2012).

While it is applicable to numerous disciplines, it is normally applied to instances which attempt to explain human behavior and the varying factors that influence and govern such behaviors into forming what they are at the present (Bansal & Corley, 2012).

Thus, it can be stated that qualitative research focuses more on exploring various aspects of an issue, developing an understanding of phenomena within an appropriate context and answering questions inherent to the issue being examined (Branthwaite & Patterson, 2012). From a certain perspective, it can be stated that a qualitative research design attempts to answer the question “why” (Shuval et al., 2011).

For example, instead of trying to determine the amount of obese people within a given sample, a qualitative research design would attempt to answer what particular behavioral or social attributes cause people to become obese in the first place (Shuval et al., 2011).

As such, a qualitative research design attempts to be more exploratory in its approach rather than the more “black and white” nature that can be found in quantitative methods of examination (Moore, 2012).

What is Self-study Research?

In essence, self-study research is a methodological practice that is characterized by the way in which the role of the “self” is examined within the context of the research project. This is done in correlation with an examination of the “space” between the researcher and the practice being engaged in (Samaras, 2010).

Basically, it is a means of written self-reflection from which contextual data related to particular psychological issues being examined are recorded. After which they are analyzed in order to develop an understanding regarding particular predilections and “tensions” within the researcher which are related to various contexts in biography and history (Casey, 2012).

At the present, self-study research has been considered an adequate means of approaching various psychological studies due to its overall compatibility with action research and the fact that self-study research utilizes a variety of qualitative methodologies in order to explore various substantive issues (Lunenberg & Samaras, 2011).

Overall, due to the emphasis that self-study research places on reflection, it has been determined as an adequate method in helping to enrich various forms of two-tiered action research projects (Jones & Maddison, 2009).

Its proper application usually consists of researchers recording their reflections and conversations prior to performing a particular type of research and then doing so after the research has been completed in order to determine changes in opinion and to understand the myriad of complexities that are inherent to particular topics that are being examined (Morrison, 2012).

Another factor that should be taken into consideration when it comes to self-study research is that when it comes gathering the necessary reflections it usually the case that methods of narrative inquiry are utilized such as written reflections or writing emails.

While it may be true that other methods of recording do exist (i.e. video or audio transcriptions) it is usually recommended that written forms of self-reflection be utilized due to their more insightful nature.

Conceptual framework (with diagram)

The elementary function of a conceptual framework is to outline and assess the varied interrelationships that exist between phenomena or variables thought to form a critical constituent of the situational dynamics under study (Galea, 2012).

Wu, Viswanathan & Ivy ( 2012 ) shared that the theoretical framework is modeled around the interrelationship between the independent variables and the dependent variables, in this case considered to be instrumental in informing I.A.M (interest, attitude and motivation) practices and how these variables or constructs influenced the researcher’s personal and professional development (Wu, Viswanathan & Ivy, 2012).

The study takes the assumption that practices involving interest, motivation and attitude directly influenced the way in which the life of the research developed personally and professionally (Walijarvi, Weiss & Weinman, 2012). In consequence, I.A.M practices will become the independent variable while life experiences and general personal/professional pursuits become dependent variables (Park & Overby, 2012).

Clark et al. (2012) posited that a dependent variable is directly influenced by the independent variable, and is altered either positively or negatively depending on the effect of the self-regulating variable (Clark et al., 2012). Based on this description, the study will be guided by the following conceptual framework.

Theoretical Schema Used to Guide the Study

Figure: Theoretical Schema Used to Guide the Study

Reference List

Bansal, P., & Corley, K. (2012). Publishing in AMJ -Part 7: What’s Different about Qualitative Research?. Academy of Management Journal. pp. 509-513.

Branthwaite, A., & Patterson, S. (2012). In search of excellence. International Journal Of Market Research, 54(5), 635-658.

Casey, A. (2012). A self-study using action research: changing site expectations and practice stereotypes. Educational Action Research, 20(2), 219-232.

Clark, J. H., Yeagle, J., Arbaje, A. I., Lin, F. R., Niparko, J. K., & Francis, H. W. (2012). Cochlear Implant Rehabilitation in Older Adults: Literature Review and Proposal of a Conceptual Framework. Journal Of The American Geriatrics Society, 60(10), 1936-1945

Galea, S. (2012). Simplicity, Complexity, and Conceptual Frameworks. Psychiatry: Interpersonal & Biological Processes, 75(3), 223-226.

Jones, P., & Maddison, E. (2009). The evolution of ‘self-study’ or ‘institutional research’. Perspectives: Policy & Practice In Higher Education, 13(3), 76-79.

Lipscomb, M. (2012). Abductive reasoning and qualitative research. Nursing Philosophy, 13(4), 244-256.

Moore, J. (2012). A personal insight into researcher positionality. Nurse Researcher, 19(4), 11-14.

Lunenberg, M., & Samaras, A. P. (2011). Developing a pedagogy for teaching self-study research: Lessons learned across the Atlantic. Teaching & Teacher Education, 27(5), 841-850.

Morrison, S. (2012). Self-Study Teacher Research: Improving Your Practice through Collaborative Inquiry – By Anastasia P. Samaras. Teaching Theology & Religion, 15(3), 290-292.

Park, H., & Overby, J. D. (2012). Review Paper: A Conceptual Framework for Demographic Diversity and Performance. Advances In Management, 5(5), 59-65.

Samaras, A. P. (2010). Explorations in using arts-based self-study methods. International Journal Of Qualitative Studies In Education (QSE), 23(6), 719-736.

Shuval, K., Harker, K., Roudsari, B., Groce, N. E., Mills, B., Siddiqi, Z., & Shachak, A. (2011). Is Qualitative Research Second Class Science? A Quantitative Longitudinal Examination of Qualitative Research in Medical Journals. Plos ONE, 6(2), 1-6.

Walijarvi, C. M., Weiss, A. H., & Weinman, M. L. (2012). A Traumatic Death Support Group Program: Applying an Integrated Conceptual Framework. Death Studies, 36(2), 152-181.

Wu, J., Viswanathan, M., & Ivy, J. (2012). A Conceptual Framework for Future Research on Mode of Delivery. Maternal & Child Health Journal, 16(7), 1447- 1454.

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