In Bryman and Teevan’s textbook, Quantitative Research is described as “entailing the collection of numerical data, a deductive relationship between theory and research, a predilection for a natural science approach (and of positivism in particular), an an objectivist conception of social reality” (50). Unlike qualitative research, which has to do with words, quantitative research is about numbers and the methods of obtaining those numbers.
I have found that so far I have learned a lot by comparing qualitative to quantitative research methods to understand each of them better. One very important aspect I have learned so far is that asking questions is very important. Having questions leads to having a theory which is the first step in quantitative research. Because quantitative research is starts with a deductive process, the theory must emerge before any actual research (15). From there, a research design can be set in motion.
Research design, whether you use experimental, cross-sectional, longitudinal, or a case study, is what is used to answer a research question, and from there, you are able to choose a research method. This is a very important step because without a research design, there is no real way to determine the best research method to use. Before this class, I had always thought that you had a question, then you give out a survey, then you get your answer. Learning about research design was actually somewhat of a surprise to me.
It allows for a much more organized research project. I also learned that there are times that research design cannot be used because some research questions may not meet the requirements of a reliable and valid research design. But, if the right research question comes about that would work well with the research design method, I feel that it would be a very effective method to use. After learning about research design, I started to wonder where the type of research that I do for essays fit in, and sure enough it was the next topic we discussed.
Secondary research encompassed every type of research I had used for writing essays, from news articles, to peer-review journals. What I didn’t know before was that all those types of research were only included in one type of secondary research. I did not know that blogs and diaries could be used as effective sources, not that I had classes where I would be doing any research anyways. So, due to my lack of communication studies courses, I had been completely ignorant of how helpful these sources can actually be.
I also did not know what internal sources were. Although, to this day, I still have not found an internal resource that I could use effectively in any research that I was doing. In both of these key methods in quantitative research, ethics plays a part. Although less than in qualitative research, quantitative research must still make the effort to ensure that everything being done is ethical, and everyone involved in the study is treated properly and not subject to any unethical harm.
Since I am taking both qualitative and quantitative classes, i can not help but notice all of the overlapping theories and methods, but one this I have learned is very clear, Quantitative studies are much less personal, and involves a lot less interaction with subjects (if there are any subjects at all). The two types of quantitative research methods mentioned are very different, but they are both very effective ways of conducting research, and I can see myself using them more effectively in the future.