Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research: What's the Difference?

At Branded Surveys, we’re proud to offer companies a way to collect data they need to make crucial business decisions. There are two types of research methods they like to use: qualitative and quantitative research.

Before someone can write a survey, they must first determine what question they want answered and what type of research they want to use to get that answer. Surveys can include qualitative research or quantitative research or a combination of both.

Ready to learn more about the difference between qualitative and quantitative research? Let’s discuss.

What Is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is a primary exploratory research method. Its purpose is to gain insight into opinions, underlying motives and motivation, and it looks at more than just numbers.

Qualitative research can provide the information needed to develop hypotheses or ideas for quantitative research. It usually uses a smaller sample group to collect data. Examples of collecting qualitative data include interviews, observations and focus groups. Qualitative research can also include short or longer answers in surveys as opposed to multiple-choice questions.

What Is Quantitative Research?

When it comes to qualitative vs. quantitative, quantitative research is more commonly used for surveys. Instead of collecting responses from short answers, quantitative research’s purpose is to generate numerical data to transform into statistics. Quantitative research uses large sample groups, and during the analysis phase, the data gathered can be used to uncover patterns and facts.

Collecting the data usually consists of using some type of survey, whether it’s on paper, online, at a kiosk, in-person or over the telephone.

The surveys you’ll be taking with us here are usually quantitative research. The exception is if you receive a short or long-answer question – then the research might be both qualitative and quantitative.


Using Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

When should researchers use quantitative vs. qualitative research?

Although they have their differences, the two complement each other. Quantitative data shows you the big picture, while qualitative data gives insight into the tiny details that make up the big picture. Here’s a look at how each method plays a role in research.

Formulating hypotheses: A company might not know exactly what they want to research in-depth. Using short answer questions for qualitative research can give researchers information to form a hypothesis.

Validating hypothesis: After forming a hypothesis, using quantitative research can help researchers validate their hypothesis by applying statistical analysis from a survey that asks a series of questions (multiple choice only) about the hypothesis.

Discovering general answers: If there’s a broad question a company needs to answer, quantitative research can provide the answer. An example might be, "Is our price point fair?"

Adding a human element: In the final stages of a project, qualitative research can provide a human element. The short-answer responses in the survey can give you more reasons behind the statistics from quantitative research. Instead of finding out that the price point is too high, researchers will find out how high, why it’s too high and other information they may not have known from statistics alone.

Using a combination of the two, rather than separating out quantitative vs. qualitative, is the best way to gain the most insight from research.

How Members Contribute to Research

When our members at Branded Surveys take online surveys with us, they’re not only earning extra cash, but they’re participating in quantitative and qualitative research from big companies. Companies take the responses from surveys and analyze them to form and validate a hypothesis. Often, they conduct market research to develop new products, understand their audience better, create more effective marketing strategies and make changes that will help their business become more successful in the long run. Our members might even have the opportunity to answer surveys for some of their favorite brands! Filling out online surveys is about more than making extra money. It’s about giving our members a voice in the consumer market.

Want to make a difference in the consumer market? Take online surveys from big companies for brands you love and get paid for it! Sign up with Branded Surveys today to get started!

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