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Qualitative Vs. Quantitative Methods in Education Research Term Paper

Pages:2 (594 words)


Subject:Social Science

Topic:Quantitative Research

Document Type:Term Paper


Qualitative vs. Quantitative Methods in Education Research

All educational (and other) research falls into two broad methodological categories: qualitative and quantitative (Lincoln & Denzin, 1994; Charles, 1998; Merriam, 1998; Holliday, 2001). "Research that relies on verbal data is called qualitative research, while research that relies on numerical data is called quantitative research [emphasis original]" (Charles, p. 30). Various opinions exist, depending on one's viewpoint, experience, or preference, about which of the two major approaches to education research, qualitative or quantitative, is better. In my own opinion, neither quantitative research in education nor qualitative research in education is inherently "better" or "worse"; one's research method must spring from the design and content of the project itself. To decide on one research method or another, based on other reasons, seems to me both artificial and possibly harmful to the project. I believe that both of these methods are inherently, equally useful depending on how and why they are used, and on what is expected from the project by the researcher and others.

According to Charles (1998), the original impetus for any educational research project, either qualitative or quantitative, springs from an initial recognition of a particular problem or concern, perhaps previously unidentified or insufficiently researched:

A concern is identified for which there is no ready answer. The concern may have arisen because of a need, an interest, or a requirement, or a commissioned work, and may have been present for a long time or may have arisen unexpectedly. For example . . . educators have identified a disturbing pattern of academic achievement in . . . schools -- students from certain ethnic

groups seem to progress more rapidly than others, despite the educators'

efforts to provide equal educational opportunities for all. (p. 10).


We would use qualitative research…

Sample Source(s) Used


Charles, C.M. (1998). Introduction to educational research. New York: Longman.

Holliday, A. (2002). Doing and writing qualitative research. London: Sage.

Lincoln, Y.S., & Denzin, N.K. (2003). Turning points in qualitative research. (2nd

ed.) Walnut Creek, CA: Alta Mira Press.

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