Qual or Quant – Pick one!


Quantitative research is better because it follows statistically reliable procedures that permit predictions within predetermined confidence levels. It allows you to know precisely how the average person feels, as well as how various demographic groups differ.

Or…..

Qualitative research is better because it gets right down to the nitty gritty of how individuals feel and behave, with feelings completely laid out and behaviours completely described. No top level descriptions here, just full, deep, and wide understandings.

I’m curious though – why is it a dichotomy? Why must it be one or the other?

I will admit that my skill set is closer to quantitative.  I have far more experience and skill in quantitative methods. It makes it far easier for me to do the pro quantitative argument. But, I will also admit that I wish I had more experience in qualitative methods and it is something I admire in others who do have those skills.

I do feel that qual and quant researchers have a general understanding of the other dimension, but they simply have insufficient skill to fully appreciate it. We all know that one is used to benefit the other, whether qual happens first and is generalized in quant or quant happens first and is flushed out in qual.

Let’s just hold hands and sing Kumbaya.

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  • One response

    1. Hi Annie Pettit,

      I’m 62 years young, and have been invoved indirectly with marketing surveys (mostly my own one on one questioning) for my entire sales/marketing/customer relations life. While the quantitative side of that was limited, I found the qualitative aspect of “peeling the onion” to expose raw motivational behavior got “right down to the nitty gritty of how individuals feel and behave,..” which brought “full, deep, and wide understandings.” to me. This personal behavioral psychology research enabled me to be very successful at sales. So, I agree with your curiosity of “why is it a dichotomy? Why must it be one or the other?”

      Please forgive my next attempt of trying to get some free advice from you, but I’m determined to be a good consumer advocate, and your resume suggests you may still be in your own consulting business. To make a long story short, after my wife recovered from breast cancer and a mastectomy we both wanted a “fresh start” with a new home in a new area of the U.S.. We bought a tract home that took over a year to get the 100 + things wrong with it fixed. This caused me to put off starting a consulting business (Local SEO & Website Useability). I have forgiven my national home builder, and want to help the entire tract home building industry, but they don’t want or think they need help. So, my question for you is how can I easily and effectively go about doing a national survey of new home buyers of tract homes that has the one main goal of finding out if they feel that their builder took too much of their valuable time in doing the quantity and quality of warranty service repairs during their initial “One Year Warranty”. An email back to me with any help you give will be greatly appreciated, but if you do not have the time to help, I will understand. In case you want to find out more about my cause and unselfish requests of my builder, the specific URL I listed as my “Website” should suffice. Thank you, and “keep the faith” when it comes to combining “quantity” with the more important (IMO) quality, even in your own life.

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