The Qualitative-Quantitative Distinction in the Social Sciences

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  2. Qualitative Research
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  4. (PDF) Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research in Social Science | Zeinab NasserEddine - profotbuga.tk
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Need help? How do I find a book? Can I borrow this item? Can I get a copy? Can I view this online? Ask a librarian. Although a distinction is commonly drawn between qualitative and quantitative aspects of scientific investigation, it has been argued that the two go hand in hand.

Kieron Yeoman. Although quantitative investigation of the world has existed since people first began to record events or objects that had been counted, the modern idea of quantitative processes have their roots in Auguste Comte 's positivist framework. Positivist scholars like Comte believed only scientific methods rather than previous spiritual explanations for human behavior could advance. Quantitative methods are an integral component of the five angles of analysis fostered by the data percolation methodology, [7] which also includes qualitative methods, reviews of the literature including scholarly , interviews with experts and computer simulation, and which forms an extension of data triangulation.

Qualitative Research

Quantitative methods have limitations. These studies do not provide reasoning behind participants' responses, they often do not reach underrepresented populations, and they may span long periods in order to collect the data. Statistics is the most widely used branch of mathematics in quantitative research outside of the physical sciences, and also finds applications within the physical sciences, such as in statistical mechanics. Statistical methods are used extensively within fields such as economics, social sciences and biology.

Quantitative research using statistical methods starts with the collection of data, based on the hypothesis or theory.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative

Usually a big sample of data is collected — this would require verification, validation and recording before the analysis can take place. Causal relationships are studied by manipulating factors thought to influence the phenomena of interest while controlling other variables relevant to the experimental outcomes. In the field of health, for example, researchers might measure and study the relationship between dietary intake and measurable physiological effects such as weight loss, controlling for other key variables such as exercise.

Things to do now

Quantitatively based opinion surveys are widely used in the media, with statistics such as the proportion of respondents in favor of a position commonly reported. In opinion surveys, respondents are asked a set of structured questions and their responses are tabulated. In the field of climate science, researchers compile and compare statistics such as temperature or atmospheric concentrations of carbon dioxide.


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Empirical relationships and associations are also frequently studied by using some form of general linear model , non-linear model, or by using factor analysis. A fundamental principle in quantitative research is that correlation does not imply causation , although some such as Clive Granger suggest that a series of correlations can imply a degree of causality. This principle follows from the fact that it is always possible a spurious relationship exists for variables between which covariance is found in some degree. Associations may be examined between any combination of continuous and categorical variables using methods of statistics.

Views regarding the role of measurement in quantitative research are somewhat divergent. Measurement is often regarded as being only a means by which observations are expressed numerically in order to investigate causal relations or associations.

(PDF) Quantitative vs. Qualitative Research in Social Science | Zeinab NasserEddine - profotbuga.tk

However, it has been argued that measurement often plays a more important role in quantitative research. This is because accepting a theory based on results of quantitative data could prove to be a natural phenomenon. He argued that such abnormalities are interesting when done during the process of obtaining data, as seen below:. In classical physics, the theory and definitions which underpin measurement are generally deterministic in nature. In contrast, probabilistic measurement models known as the Rasch model and Item response theory models are generally employed in the social sciences.

Psychometrics is the field of study concerned with the theory and technique for measuring social and psychological attributes and phenomena. The power of number was an idea the En lightenment thinkers deployed with their legendary passion and vigor, particularly as an instrument for social reconstruction. It is no exaggemtion to say that the role of quantities in contemporary social scientific theorizing cannot be understood with any depth absent a recollection of the philosophes' axial development of the notion of quantification.

It is a commonplace that for the philosophes progress required releasing human abilities to have power over nature. Aprerequisite for this power was knowledge of the underlying causes of natural events, knowledge that required quantitative precision.

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Enlightenment thinkers were sufficiently aware of themselves as products of their time to appreciate the importance of a liberal social environment to the knowledge enterprise; the supposition that the reverse is also the case, that enhanced knowledge could advance social conditions, came easily. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.

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