Read our page to learn how to identify and evaluate peer-reviewed journal articles. These articles are the main way that new research is shared in science and academia. The library pays for students and faculty to have access, since they're usually not freely available online -- so take advantage during your time at Saint Mary's!
Quantitative and Qualitative Research
This video from Deakin University Library breaks down the differences!
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 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
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.