Qualitative and quantitative methodologies describe two different approaches to research. Though the goals may be generally the same, the methods require gathering data and analysing it in different ways. Deciding which method to use depends on what the purpose of your research is.
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The function of both qualitative research and quantitative research is to analyse data in such a way that a conclusion can be drawn about the past and a prediction can be made for the future. Research should always begin with a purpose, i.e., what you are trying to find with your project. Quantitative research uses the analysis of accrued historical data to fulfil this function. Qualitative research accumulates opinions from both experts and average people in order to deduce a general consensus.
When considering which methodology to use, outline your general purpose to see which approach fits better. For instance, if you are attempting to gather data on the sale of children's toys for the last 50 years, a quantitative approach will work the best. You can then take a look at the sales figures of major toy outlets and chart a trend. However, if you are observing changing attitudes toward children's toys in the last 50 years, then a qualitative approach, where you can analyse reception of different toys throughout the years, will suit you the best.
Examples of quantitative research includes analysing previous trends, for instance, in purchasing decisions of a particular demographic. Quantitative research can also include gathering statistics that have previously been recorded on a given topic and organising them so that they can be analysed. Examples of qualitative research include using a panel of experts to generate a unanimous or near unanimous opinion about a topic. Qualitative research can also be executed through the use of extensive surveys or focus groups.
Dr. Duangtip Charoenruk asserts that it is occasionally ideal for both methodologies to be combined (See References 2, p. 14). This calls for quantitative and qualitative data to be collected separately using any number of techniques. The two can then be compared to see if they have produced similar results. If they have, then your conclusion will be solidified. If they do not, then there is obviously a difference between current and historical trends that must be located.
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