Initial question and answer:
What are the characteristics of quantitative analysis that lend itself to the perception that it is “more scientific” than qualitative research? To what extent do you agree with this perception? Why?
The deductive nature of quantitative analysis allows us to test theories and present data in numerical form. This takes away some of the biases that may exist in self-reported data and experiences shared by participants in qualitative research as well as some of the possibilities of researcher biases tainting the results of studies and thus gives this form of research the illusion of being more scientific. In other words, the quantitative methods look for confirmation of causal factors and the extent of the correlated effects, given all the internal and external criteria of validity and reliability are met, and the presentation of numbers allows others to quickly reference the data without any if, and, or buts. Regardless, this information is still not expected to be perfect but can be close to perfect by running tests to confirm an acceptable accuracy. I would say that neither quantitative nor qualitative are more scientific, as both have scientific approaches to improve the analysis of the data. Quantitative research’s use of statistics and numbers in presenting results does not equate to more scientific in my mind. When I think of a scientific approach, I think of strict outlines used in the process of collecting and analyzing data. Qualitative research still abides by the rules of informed consent, bracketing our biases to analyze data, and reporting the information in a non-biased manner. There are checkmarks to be made by each individual step of the process.
2) Many journals prefer publications that are mixed methods, rather than purely qualitative, calling on the researcher to verify any claims made through the collection and analysis of qualitative data with the numbers. There are many popular theories out there that, through quantitative scrutiny are demonstrably false, but they remain very popular political talking points. Are there any such talking points that you would want to “run the numbers” on to determine the extent to which they are actually true?
I would like to run the numbers on data that is shared by pro-life supporters. I would like to know how many people believe that people do not become pregnant from rape or that adoption is an answer to an unwanted pregnancy. I am constantly seeing information being spread around that your body rejects pregnancy based on the action of rape, or that people need to give children up for adoption rather than have abortions. What I do not understand is where they get their information and why they insist on repeating information based on hearsay. I found some contradictive articles about percentages of pregnancy occurring from rape. However, there are articles that show that some rapists intend for their victims to become pregnant (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 2020). So, despite the statement that little to no people become pregnant from rape, I need to see proof. The suggestion of adoption does not seem viable either. With over 437,000 children in foster care as of 2018 (Child Welfare Information Gateway 2020), why are people suggesting that adoption is an alternative to abortion? This, of course, is a popular subject among politicians and their voting bases. I am not making a pro-abortion stance here. I think of my stance as being proactive, not reactive; education paired with available contraception would go a long way in preventing unwanted pregnancies.
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 2020. Violence Prevention: Understanding Pregnancy Resulting from Rape in the United States. Center for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/violenceprevention/sexualviolence/understanding-RRP-inUS.html (Links to an external site.)
Child Welfare Information Gateway. 2020. Foster care statistics 2018. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Administration for Children and Families, Childrens Bureau. https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubPDFs/foster.pdf (Links to an external site.)
Colleague 1 answer:
I think that would be an excellent quantitative study to conduct. I feel like certain topics like abortion, drug use, domestic violence, etc. are so wrapped up in the religious and moral dogma of our society that people have a hard time processing facts that contradict their views. I only need to refer to “fake news” and “alternative facts” here, I think. Any quantitative data on these topics that gets released has to combat a sort of “qualitative group analysis” that exists as a structure of beliefs in the minds of many Americans. In other words, certain groups of people believe that simply because they believe something, it makes that thing as scientifically accurate or provable as actual quantitative research. Group-think at its worst. Thanks for the thought-provoking suggestion.
Colleague 2 answer:
I fully agree that quantitative analysis is more scientific than qualitative research because of its deductive nature. Researchers can test theories and develop numerical presentations of data through quantitative analysis. However, in qualitative research, a lot of biases through participants experiences and self-reported information Through statistics and numbers, quantitative research cannot be strictly classified as a scientific approach because the data collection and analysis processes follow strict outlines in scientific methods. Most journals prefer qualitative and quantitative research in evaluating and presenting diverse information that people can relate to easily at different levels.
Colleague 3 answer:
Thanks for responding. While quantitative may be considered more scientific, if you go by Merriam-Webster’s definition of science, the word describes using systematic methods. So, although not always testable, if we use qualitative over quantitative, but still use caution in our procedures to ensure a reduction of biases, would it not be as “scientific?” I understand the association of numbers, rather than experiences and feelings, appearing to be more scientific, but is it? Sometimes it is the qualitative method results that do lead to quantitative research, so I think whenever possible integration of both methodologies does give us a fuller picture. However, quantitative can not always define the meanings behind certain words, non-verbal communications,
Initial question and answer:
The quantitative analysis differs from qualitative analysis substantially. It is deductive, as opposed to inductive in nature, and is generally used to verify and test the theories generated from the observations in qualitative research. It seeks to find antithetical information to the driving thesis formed by the qualitative observations to synthesize a more accurate explanation of the nature of social phenomena. Quantitative research is closely associated with positivism and is generally seen as being more scientific than qualitative research because of the general objectivity of its data measurement and analysis.
The main goal of quantitative research is to generate numerical data. The researcher can then use those numbers to determine the characteristics of groups that engage in certain behaviors or have certain opinions, the average or normal characteristics of these groups, and determine what behaviors, opinions, and characteristics are associated with other behaviors, opinions, and characteristics. It is less about the micro approach to understanding a social phenomenon than it is about the macro, aggregate approach.
1). What are the characteristics of quantitative analysis that lend themselves to the perception that it is “more scientific” than qualitative research? To what extent do you agree with this perception? Why?
2). Many journals prefer publications that are mixed methods, rather than purely qualitative, calling on the researcher to verify any claims made through the collection and analysis of qualitative data with the numbers. There are many popular theories out there that, through quantitative scrutiny are demonstrably false, but they remain very popular political talking points. Are there any such talking points that you would want to “run the numbers” on to determine the extent to which they are actually true?
Quantitative analysis is a method that determines behavior through applying statistical and mathematical models, research, and measurements. It uses numerical values to represent realities. Quantitative analysis can either be descriptive, casual-comparative, experimental, or correlational. Qualitative analysis is applied in determining non-numerical data about chemical components or reactions. The deductive nature of the quantitative analysis is its key differentiating factor with qualitative analysis substantially. Quantitative analysis is also applied in verifying and evaluating theories that researchers generate through their qualitative research observations (Chen, 2012). Qualitative observations do not provide antithetical information that can be used to synthesize accurate explanations surrounding social spectacles and nature. Quantitative analysis is more scientific because of its close association with positivism. Furthermore, the primary objective of quantitative analysis is to measure and analyze data.
Quantitative analysts gather information by utilizing structured instruments because their results are based on larger samples representing populations. Quantitative research can also be carried out repeatedly so long as it provides reliable information. A quantitative analyst’s key objective is to clearly define the research question so that goals can be easily set. It is more scientific than qualitative analysis because it designs all aspects of its studies before collecting information. Mixed research methods are preferred in journal publications than pure qualitative or quantitative analysis. They clarify the researchers’ verification of claims regarding their collection and analysis of qualitative data using available numbers (Mc Kim, 2016). Numbers are essential components of research because they represent the characteristics of larger groups that cannot be analyzed simultaneously. The macro aggregate research approach is crucial in effectively understanding social phenomena than the micro process because the evidence is vital in convincing researchers about the relevance of their research.
Chen, H. X. (2012). Approaches to quantitative research: A guide for dissertation students. Oak Tree Press (Ireland).
McKim, C. A. (2016). The value of mixed methods research. Journal of Mixed Methods Research, 11(2), 202-222. doi:10.1177/1558689815607096
Colleague 1 answer:
I replied to your reply to my post as well. After reading your initial post, you are correct about the nature of quantitative research. It can measure many more factors than qualitative, and the tests can confirm the findings. While I think a mixture of both is a perfect combination, I think there are many social phenomena that can have emotional effects that are not numerically measurable. For example, gender studies have observed the different treatment of girls and boys in grade school, but there is not an equation per se. There is nothing to tell us how many times it takes someone to expect a girl to be quieter than a boy equals a girl not speaking up for herself. Thankfully, through observations, we can learn what gendered expectations are and how they are taught, and with a scientific approach of systematically observing and recording data, it does feel legit even without an equation to test and retest the results. Although, one can retest these results through additional observations.
Hopefully, I am explaining my thoughts well here. Either way, you did provoke my thoughts.