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Quantitative and Qualitative Research | What is The Difference

Research is the most widely used and effective tool to increase and gather your knowledge about a particular issue or industry such as marketing, business, sociology, psychology, science and technology, economics, etc. There are two ways to conduct research primary (qualitative research or quantitative research). Market research can answer a variety of questions about the state of the industry. Also, Marketers can rely on them for acquiring statistics and insights on target customers and the competitors, an accurate overview of the business nature and how to deliver a product or service with a value that no one has offered before.

While qualitative research relies on verbal narratives such as spoken or written data examines people’s feelings and attitudes towards your product or service, and what motivates them, quantitative research uses logical, numerical and statistical observations to set conclusions.

Market research is a process that takes time and effort by engaging the right people to gather the required data more accurately. Any business can use this research to position itself in the market and predict its place in the market in the future.

What qualitative research?

Qualitative research is a process of inquiring information that seeks a deep understanding of social and human behaviour, experience, attitudes, intentions, and motivations within their natural setting. It generates ideas or hypothesis for later quantitative research.

Qualitative researchers use multiple systems of inquiry for the study of human phenomena including biography, case study, historical analysis, discourse analysis, ethnography, grounded theory and phenomenology.

The major focus areas are individuals, societies, cultures, language and communication. The common methods of inquiry in qualitative research are:

  • In-depth interviews.
  • Focus groups.
  • Market research online communities (MROCs).
  • Ethnography research.

What is quantitative research?

Quantitative research (also known as empirical research) methods emphasize objective measurements, the statistical, mathematical, and numerical analysis of data collected through polls, questionnaires, or by manipulating pre-existing statistical data using computational techniques. Quantitative research focuses on gathering numerical data and generalizing it across groups of people or to explain a particular phenomenon and establish cause and effect relationship between two variables.

The common methods of inquiry in qualitative research are:

  • Survey Research.
  • Cross-sectional surveys.
  • Longitudinal surveys.
  • Experimental Research.

Comparing Quantitative and Qualitative Research Characteristics 

1. Definition and Sample sizes: Qualitative is an examination of variable or phenomenon in a deep comprehensive manner conducted amongst smaller samples. quantitative analysis focuses on describing a phenomenon across large sample sizes that are representative of the population providing the possibility of summarizing characteristics across groups or relationships.

2. The purpose of the qualitative research is to Inductive data and explore the meaning of the people’s experiences, culture, and how the people view a particular issue or case whereas in the case of quantitative research the purpose is to deductive and examine the relationship between variables. 

3. The emphasis in Quantitative research is all about the measurement of a market or population, Qualitative information is focused on ‘understanding’ rather than measurement.

4. The data In qualitative analysis,  are presented thematically, capturing the main “stories” behind the data. people responses in the form of videos, quotes and audio are often used to demonstrate a specific theme. but in quantitative, data are presented Usually as charts, aggregated tables and other statistical plots.

5. Research questions: the qualitative research questions usually start with the words, such as What, or How. quantitative research question can start with the word What and Why, but they might also include the word Does at the beginning of the question, in the descriptive quantitative research, the research question asks how much, how often, what is the relation between variables, what is the difference between variables.

6. Nature: Qualitative research is holistic in nature while quantitative research is particularistic. qualitative research is exploratory it typically does not have a hypothesis or it is generated while the quantitative research does have tested hypotheses or predictions about what will happen in the study.

7. The approach: qualitative research follows a subjective approach as the researcher is intimately involved, whereas the approach of quantitative research is objective, as the researcher is uninvolved and attempts to precise the observations and analysis on the topic to answer the inquiry.

8. Inquiry in qualitative research is a process-oriented, which is not in the case of quantitative research.


Market research is one process, but the methods of implementation are different. Each type of industry or business requires a specific type of marketing research. Some businesses may need to implement one method and some to combine the two methods together. As a business owner or a researcher, you should choose the right and suitable method with your project or business and be familiar with its mechanisms, techniques and what is the results it is helping you to reach for.

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