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Compare and Contrast Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

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Compare and Contrast Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods

This essay compares and contrasts qualitative and quantitative research methods, which have several similarities and differences. Both qualitative research and quantitative research are empirical research methods used to obtain information through observation, experience, or experiment and are used to answer a specific question or to test a hypothesis (McBurney, H., White, T. 2007; Benoit, W, & Holbert, L. 2008). According to Mertens, (2005); Berger & Luckman, (1966); Gergen, (1999, 2001a, 2001b) research is an activity involving detailed systematic processes of gathering data or information so as to acquire information that provides insight and knowledge, for humans seek to answer questions in their pursuit to understand the world that they live in.

In respect to similarities between qualitative and quantitative research, Darlaston-Jones, (2007) argues that epistemological being the theory of knowledge formulates the determining factor of the research topic and the chosen research method and methodology, which was strongly supported by Trow (1957) who claimed ‘the problem under investigation properly dictates the methods of investigation'. Yet, strong purists continue to argue in support of either quantitative research or qualitative research (Kuhn, 1977; Campbell & Fiske, 1959), and some social science researcher's view qualitative and quantitative approaches as incongruous (Lincoln & Guba, 1985; Schwandt, 1989).

The Oxford dictionary of psychology (2006) defines qualitative research as "research that focuses

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