Many forms of research design involve both quantitative and qualitative research.
Quantitative research involves numbers: statistics, data analysis, timings, correlations, and measurements. The researcher is usually an observer or recorder, not a participant.
Qualitative research involves the study of social or cultural events. The researcher is usually immersed "in the field," conducting interviews and observing and recording behaviors.
|Collected data is numbers and statistics.||Collected data is words, pictures, or objects.|
|Researcher designs all aspects of the study before collecting data.||The research design can change as the study progresses.|
|The researcher knows in advance what data will be collected.||The researcher may change what is collected.|
|Data sets can be large; specific variables will be analyzed.||Data sets could be small, and not randomly selected. Involves study of the whole and not selected variables.|
|The research method is confirmatory or top-down. The researcher tests the hypothesis or theory with the data,||The research method is exploratory or bottom-up. The researcher can generate a new hypothesis and theory from the data collected.|
|Results are not necessarily generalizable.||Results can be generalized and applied to other settings or data.|
|Results are explained with objective language.||Researcher discloses biases and experiences that can impact the results. Results are subjective.|
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Academic research is is a multi-step process that doesn't always go in a straight line; you may find yourself returning to previous stages as you refine your topic. Steps include
We recommend you become familiar with the types of sources required for your research project: