Quantitative data analysis

The systematic study of quantitative properties, phenomena and their relationship is known as quantitative research (Morgan, 1998, pp. 362). Quantitative methods collect information concerned with numbers and things that are measurable.

The main objective of quantitative methods is to establish and utilize mathematical theories and models together with hypotheses concerned with the phenomena.

Measurements are very significant in quantitative methods since it establishes the link between mathematical expressions and empirical observation of quantitative relationships, therefore, tables, graphs and statistics are mostly used in presentation of the study results. Quantitative methods usually employ statistical methods which comprises of data collection on the basis of hypothesis whereby a big sample is involved on contrary to qualitative methods. This calls for validation, verification and data recording before analysis begins.

The data is analysed through software packages such as SPSS. A controversy exists between quantitative and qualitative methods whereby quantitative method is seen as the only method that can cause social sciences be truly scientific while qualitative methods advocates argue that quantitative methods ignore non measurable aspects of the society which are very significant hence they obscure reality of social phenomena (Morgan, 2008, pp. 368).

Qualitative research designs

Social sciences and market research usually employ qualitative research method whereby the method aims at investigating a deeper understanding of human behaviours and the reasons behind such behaviours. Qualitative research method is concerned with how and why in making decisions rather than what, when and where, therefore, it mostly prefers smaller samples as compared to large samples in quantitative methods (Morgan, 1998, pp. 370).

Information given by qualitative methods is based on specific study cases whereby it considers only hypothesis in formulating conclusions which are more general, thus qualitative methods are useful in generating hypothesis and providing explanations to puzzling results from quantitative studies.

However, in order to verify the true hypotheses quantitative methods are used. There are possibilities of a researcher in qualitative methods to have problems in taking a transcendental or neutral position thus selection of cases should be purposeful and the researcher’s position or role should be given more critical attention. Qualitative data analysis focuses on transparent and systematic approaches whereby consistent and reliable methods in data coding, discernment and documentation of themes are essential requirements of the researcher.

Mixed perspectives

This is the attempt of combining both qualitative and quantitative research techniques, approaches, language, concepts and methods (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, pp. 17). Researchers are therefore not restricted to one research method hence they have the flexibility to access multiple approaches to provide answers to research questions (Johnson & Onwuegbuze, 2004, pp. 15). For instance, in order to understand the meaning of measurements given by quantitative methods, qualitative methods can be employed.

Moreover, quantitative methods are useful in providing testable and precise expression to qualitative results. Mixed method type and mixed model type are the major types of mixed research methods. The combination of quantitative and qualitative methods approaches across and within the research process stages is known as mixed model while the involvement of a quantitative phase in the entire research process as distinct from a qualitative phase is known as mixed method (Johnson & Onwuegbuzie, 2004, pp. 23).

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