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The description of qualitative research entails methodologies that center on naturally occurring events. In other words, qualitative research is generally carried out in natural environments; this does add on to the methods’ complexity. Observation is fundamental in qualitative research; evaluation, analysis, and interpretation are all conditional upon the researchers’ observations. Based on this, one of the most difficult challenges that researchers face when undertaking qualitative research is working towards objectivity (given the methods’ subjective essence). Qualitative research strives to offer answers to a particular question; very specific procedures are followed in expressing an answer to this research question. Generally speaking, qualitative research encompasses introducing unknown information that is discovered during the investigation, evidence recollection, and findings that conform to the studies’ previously established parameters.

Qualitative research is social in nature. It entails a method that intends to analyze and understand a specific research problem from a fundamentally social perspective. This being said, it is also worth mentioning that qualitative research does offer researchers the possibility of developing only generalized research problems, while allowing for only generalized questions to be raised. Of course, generalized research methods are developed in order to enhance the understanding of a given problem, thus allowing for the subsequent formulation of specific hypotheses. In a sense, qualitative research indicates what is needed for answering a specific research question; it indicates exactly what needs to be researched.

Having considered qualitative research methods extensively, it is necessary to also discuss quantitative research methods. First of all, it is important to mention that quantitative research, like qualitative research, implies an inquiry on a specific problem; it is founded on theories that are generally-composed of statistical elements like variables, numbers, and etc. and its ultimate objective is to deliver quantifiable results. Quantitative research is essentially descriptive; although, it can also be inferential. It explores characteristics, as well as possibilities or probabilities of occurrences of events. It should be noted as well that quantitative research, when applied to social sciences, rarely concerns itself with cause and effect relationships as qualitative research does; quantitative research limits itself to statistical analysis.

As far as quantitative research designs go, it is necessary to discuss four different design types: observational studies; developmental studies; correlational studies; and survey studies. Observational studies tend to be focused on a very specific group: the idea is to observe and study some behavioral aspect. Developmental studies can either be cross-sectional or longitudinal. Cross-sectional studies are unique in the sense that the sample of subjects is comprised by cross section from different age groups. Longitudinal studies, on the other hand, involve a developmental or progressive study of a given group over a specific period of time. It is also important to note that in discussing developmental studies, cross-sectional ones are generally less complicated, less time-consuming, and more economical and practical than longitudinal studies in general. This, however, will depend on the study’s actual design. Survey studies consist of collecting information as it pertains to specific questions; the answers given by the subjects are arranged and analyzed usually through statistical indexation. Correlational studies seek to establish the nature and strength of relationships between one variable and other variables. In essence, correlational studies seek to establish how a change in a given set of variables may bring about change in a given dependent variable.

Finally, upon attempting to compare and contrast between qualitative and quantitative research methodologies, it is to be said that they are different because of objectives, research questions, instruments, and kind of data produced. The most significant difference between them, however, is their respective levels of flexibility, since quantitative methods are flexible, while qualitative methods generally are not flexible. A large number of researchers move in the direction of objectivity in their research methods. The connection between qualitative research methods researcher and the participant in the research is more informal than quantitative research methods.

Code: Sample20

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