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4. Read and Evaluate Articles

Quantitative and Qualitative Research

This video from Deakin University Library breaks down the differences!

Quantitative Research

  • Quantitative research asks "how many?" or "how much?"
  • The data looks like numbers or statistics -- the quantity of something. It can be counted.
  • Quantitative research methods include:
    • Counting and measurements -- the number of HHSM students who are women, for instance. The percentage of respondents who support a mask mandate. Data from the U.S. Census, which counts population characteristics.
    • Surveys which use ratings scales, where participants choose one response from a fixed set of answers. You've probably taken surveys that use the Likert scale, where the possible responses to a question are Strongly Disagree, Disagree, Neither Agree nor Disagree, Agree, and Strongly Agree.
  • To locate quantitative studies, look for keywords like survey, measure, statistic, number, and count, and statistics keywords like regression, correlation, deviation, distribution, and probability.

Qualitative Research

  • Qualitative research asks "why?" It seeks to describe people's experiences.
  • The data looks like words and descriptions -- the quality of something. It cannot be counted.
  • Qualitative research methods include:
    • Open-ended surveys where people can write what they want
    • Interviews
    • Focus groups
    • Case studies
    • Observation
    • Analyzing documents and artifacts that people have created
    • Methods like ethnography and grounded theory
  • To locate qualitative studies, look for keywords like survey, interview, focus group, case study, experience, describe, observe, narrative, coding, and pattern.