Qualitative vs quantitative research

Qualitativevs quantitative research

Qualitativeand quantitative research approaches are not only different in thedata collection method and presentation but also how they viewvalidity. Qualitative research uses naturalistic approaches tounderstand phenomena in context-specific settings without any datamanipulation and the phenomenon of interest makes known naturally asthe study progresses. On the other hand, quantitative research viewsphenomena as objectively measurable using statistical data.Relationships between variables are examined and cause-effectrelationships between variables are desired. For qualitative studies,data is descriptive while in qualitative data is statistical.

Validityis important in both research approaches. It indicates how sound theresearch design and methods of the research are. Validity is alsoviewed as a “rathera contingent construct, inescapably grounded in the processes andintentions of particular research methodologies and projects”(Golfshani 602). Previously, ‘validity’ was perceived as inapplicable inqualitative studies by qualitative researchers. However, this haschanged and as a result scholars have developed various perceptionsof validity with the underlying one being a kind of qualifying check.For others, newer terms such as rigor, trustworthiness and qualityhave been used instead of the term validity. To qualitativeresearchers, validity is elimination of bias and increase intruthfulness. In short, the current understanding of validity whichrelies on generalizability of research in different situations fallsshort in qualitative approaches but fits in quantitative approaches.Then it would mean that the two approaches have different views onvalidity hence they are not comparable.


Golafshani,N. (2003). Understanding reliability and validity in qualitativeresearch. The

QualitativeReport 8(4):597-607