Quantitative or Qualitative?

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In the process of defining what form of research is the most valuable, I would answer that it is not a matter of the value. Sometimes, it is better to use qualitative methods while in other cases the research requires to apply quantitative forms. I insist it depends on the aim of a research. The better choice is the one dictated by the data, the research questions, the depth of knowledge a researcher aims to achieve as well as the skills a researcher has in each of these main research methodologies. Besides, the available time for the completion is a very important factor in this process. For example, we all understand that qualitative research and analysis is more time consuming than quantitative. On the other hand, in quantitative methodology, doing statistics, working with the tables and special programs also require additional skills which might be very difficult for some researchers.

Another issue a researcher has to consider is the epistemologic paradigm from which they stand. There are various views about viewing and examining reality ranging from phenomenology to positivism. The question is whether there is one main scope of reality or multiple scopes depending on the participants views and experiences. What is the purpose of a researcher? Is it to stress on peoples’ views for a particular issue or to generalize results? It is important to think about the previous question and provide specific answers before engaging in a particular methodology.

Both methodologies have their advantages and disadvantages. Quantitative methods are clear cut but cannot answer “why” things happen, are mostly preferential to examine relationships among variables, neither feelings nor thoughts. On the other hand, the results provided can be easily generalized, something which cannot happen by applying qualitative methods. Using qualitative methods could be used to formulate new research questions when a quantitative research (survey) seems difficult to generate new hypotheses and ideas for a theme. A mixture of both methods (mixed methods research) is an interesting trend which could give answers to many research inquiries especially when used to complement the drawbacks of each methodology with the strengths of the other. This mixed method is exactly closer to me as a researcher. Personally, I feel like the mixed method would achieve the aim of a study fully. I would like to try to make more research in future using mixed method and then perceive the difference and see the results.

In my current research, I came to the conclusion to use qualitative methodology because it fits to the aim of my study in the best way. My research is based on evaluation where it is vital to hear individuals and their thoughts.

Speaking about the researchers in Kazakhstan, I think they all use the methods which is appropriate to their papers. However, I remember from a guest lecture last year, a woman working in Ministry of  Education shared her vision and recommended us, young researchers, to do more quantitative studies in order to persuade the leaders in Ministry of Education to make changes in education by providing statistics and numbers. This method covers a big number of people and shows the existence about the issue.

2 thoughts on “Quantitative or Qualitative?

  1. Thanks for catching up, Sholpan. It seems like you have worked through these two research paradigms and come away with a clear understanding for yourself. Crystal clear writing throughout. (5/5->late->2.5/5)

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  2. Sound job, Sholpan! you did a really good analysis and comparison of the two main forms of research. Thanks to your work, I could one more time to reflect on that. Additionally, in your last paragraph, you shared the words of the guest lecture which demonstrated you as a good listener! Good food for thought)

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