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Critically examine the differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research.

QuestionCritically examine the differences between qualitative and quantitative approaches to research.


Recommended sources


Allwood, C. M. (2012) The distinction between qualitative and quantitative research methods is problematic. Qual Quant 46:1417–1429


Atieno, O. P. (2009) An Analysis of the Strengths and Limitations of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Paradigms. Problems of Education in the 21st Century, 13: 13-18


Castellan, C. M. (2010) Quantitative and Qualitative Research: A View for Clarity. International Journal of Education, 2 (2): 1-14


Choy, L. T. (2014) The Strengths and Weaknesses of Research Methodology: Comparison and Complimentary between Qualitative and Quantitative Approaches.  IOSR Journal Of Humanities And Social Science, 19 (4): 99-104


Mahoney,  J. and Goertz, G.  (2006) A Tale of Two Cultures: Contrasting Quantitative and Qualitative Research. Political Analysis, 14:227–249


things you could consider include:

The different ontological and epistemological positions of qualitative and quantitative research

The difference between theory and data in qualitative and quantitative research

The different preoccupations of these two approaches

The different research strategies and research methods used in each approach

The differences in the role of the researcher in the process of research

The differences in issues of validity and reliability between these two approaches

The differences in sampling techniques between these two approaches

The differences in the analysis of qualitative and quantitative data

Whether the distinction between these two approaches is meaningful

For both of these questions, it might not be possible to discuss all of the suggested topics. You must decide which of these are the most important ones and focus on a detailed examination of a few of them in a way that fit your overall argument.


The essay word count is 1500 words (+/- 20%).  In order to ensure that you have covered key issues in detail you should aim for a word of limit of at least 1500 words.

You should also check the GIC Referencing Guide (available on the Kaplan VLE) to make sure that you have used the appropriate format to cite your sources within the text and to write your list of references at the end of your essay.

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