Qualitative vs Quantitative Research

To analyze data, we can use qualitative and quantitative approaches. Neither of them is superior to the other one, and both methods have their competitive advantages. In political science, we distinguish empirical and normative analysis. The first is used to obtain information and the last – to make some use of it. Empirical analysis brings us the data that we can further verify experimentally or through observations. It can be qualitative or quantitative.

Quantitative analysis allows us to estimate numerical data using measures and statistical techniques. It gives us an objective study of the reality refined from the subjective attitude of the investigator or the speculations of the subject. The investigator uses questionnaires or experiments while interacting with the subject. They apply deductive forms of logic to generalize theories and provide better explanation and understanding of the phenomenon.

Qualitative research generates a complex characteristic of the phenomenon and it involves investigation of words and graphical objects in their context. This inquiry helps to better understand social issues, events, or people themselves. In qualitative research, the reality is not objective but socially constructed. Investigators closely interact with the subjects of the study and collect data themselves. They also become a part of the research and may bring their subjective evaluation to it. The investigator is bound to the context and they use inductive forms of logic to draw conclusions.

Irrespective of which type of research we choose, it is always necessary to understand the research question as well as the theory behind it, create a research design, collect and analyze data, and provide the research results. The choice of research method depends on the area of investigation, the type of data we deal with, and the conclusions we aim at.

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