Knowing the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative and qualitative methods will help you make a better decision.
Both methods are quite useful depending on the type of study. Some dissertations and research studies take a mixed method approach, which incorporates qualitative and quantitative methods in different phases to obtain a broader perspective. You may be very familiar with quantitative research from your science classes where you learned and practiced using the scientific method. A problem or question is examined by deductively forming a hypothesis derived from theory.
Controlled, objective testing and experimentation ultimately supports or rejects your hypotheses. Each step is standardized to reduce bias when collecting and analyzing data. A big advantage of this approach is that the results are valid, reliable and generalizable to a larger population.
Quantitative research is advantageous for studies that involve numbers, such as measuring achievement gaps between different groups of students or assessing the effectiveness of a new blood pressure medication. While quantitative research methods work well in the laboratory under tightly controlled conditions, measuring phenomena like human behavior in natural settings is trickier.
Survey instruments are vulnerable to errors such as mistakes in measurement and flawed sampling techniques. Another disadvantage is that quantitative research involves numbers, but some topics are too difficult to quantify in numbers. For example, constructing an effective survey with closed-ended questions about how people fall in love would be difficult.
Qualitative research is often used to conduct social and behavioral studies because human interactions are more complex than molecular reactions in a beaker. Face-to-face interviews have long been the dominant interview technique in the field of qualitative research. In the last two decades, telephone interviewing became more and more common.
Due to the explosive growth of new communication forms, such as computer mediated communication for example e-mail and chat boxes , other interview techniques can be introduced and used within the field of qualitative research. For a study in the domain of virtual teams, I used various communication possibilities to interview informants as well as face-to-face interviews.
In this article a comparison will be made concerning the advantages and disadvantages of face-to-face, telephone, e-mail and MSN messenger interviews. Advantages and Disadvantages of the Four Interview Techniques.
Synchronous communication of time and place. Synchronous communication of time, asynchronous communication of place. Asynchronous communication of time and place. Collecting these descriptions can be done in several ways, of which face-to-face interviews are the most common. Besides Face-to-Face FtF interviews, interviewing by telephone is popular too. But also interviewing using the Internet is rising.
Due to developments in computer technology, all kinds of computer mediated communication CMC tools have been developed. With CMC is meant: The experiences with the four mentioned interview techniques were gained during my research of EU funded virtual teams, from which team members were dispersed all over Europe.
I tried to conduct as much FtF interviews as possible in the first place, but due to time and financial constraints this was not always possible. Also doing research on virtual teams, where FtF communication has decreased in favour of other forms of communication, paved the way for me to use other interview techniques. Although it would have been likely to establish telephone interviews, not all interviewees were in favour of it.
As one interviewee remarked "We can do it the interview by an Instant Messaging tool as well. If it takes an hour, I think it will be better and less disturbing for my colleagues". The focus of this research was semi-structured interviews.
In this article four types of interview techniques will be compared: FtF interviews, telephone interviews, MSN messenger interviews, and e-mail interviews. The focus of this article is concentrated on the ways in which the four interview techniques differ from each other, thus highlighting the advantages and disadvantages.
Whenever possible, the experiences from my own interviews are mentioned. Table 1 presents the four interview techniques related to these dimensions. FtF interviews are characterised by synchronous communication in time and place. MSN messenger and telephone interviews are characterised by synchronous communication in time, but asynchronous communication in place.
E-mail interviews are characterised as asynchronous communication in time and place. One could argue that MSN messenger and telephone interviews are characterised by synchronous communication in cyberspace. As cyberspace is defined as "the noplace" MORSE, , communication in a virtual place brings with it other advantages and disadvantages than communication in a real place , as in FtF interviews.
Therefore with synchronous communication of place is meant a real place , and not a virtual place. On the other hand advantages and disadvantages of the four interview techniques are related to the technology used. As already mentioned, FtF interviews are characterised by synchronous communication in time and place.
Due to this synchronous communication, as no other interview method FtF interviews can take its advantage of social cues. Social cues, such as voice, intonation, body language etc. Of course the value of social cues also depends on what the interviewer wants to know from the interviewee. If the interviewer is seen as a subject, and as an irreplaceable person, from whom the interviewer wants to know the attitude towards for example the labour union, then social cues are very important.
When the interviewer interviews an expert about things or persons that have nothing to do with the expert as a subject, then social cues become less important EMANS, On the other hand this visibility can lead to disturbing interviewer effects, when the interviewer guides with his or her behaviour the interviewee in a special direction.
This disadvantage can be diminished by using an interview protocol and by the awareness of the interviewer of this effect. In FtF interviews there is no significant time delay between question and answer; the interviewer and interviewee can directly react on what the other says or does. An advantage of this synchronous communication is that the answer of the interviewee is more spontaneous, without an extended reflection.
But due to this synchronous character of the medium, the interviewer must concentrate much more on the questions to be asked and the answers given. Especially when an unstructured or semi structured interview list is used, and the interviewer has to formulate questions as a result of the interactive nature of communication. FtF interviews can be tape recorded, of course with the permission of the interviewee. Using a tape recorder has the advantage that the interview report is more accurate than writing out notes.
But tape recording also brings with it the danger of not taking any notes during the interview. Taking notes during the interview is important for the interviewer, even if the interview is tape recorded: In one interview I conducted I should have taken notes because I had forgotten to push the "record" button.
Another disadvantage of tape recording the interview is the time a transcription of the tape recording consumes. The synchronous communication of time and place in a FtF interview also has the advantage that the interviewer has a lot of possibilities to create a good interview ambience.
In other words the interviewer can make more use of a standardisation of the situation. On the other hand this synchronous communication of time and place can bring with it a lot of time and costs.
Interviewing an interviewee in a place some kilometres away will take a whole day, including travelling and interviewing. It can even take more days, when the interviewee is ill and didn't or couldn't reach the interviewer in time to cancel the interview. Also the costs, i. Doing research by using FtF interviews, which have to be held all over the globe, as for example is the case when doing research in the domain of virtual teams, takes a lot of effort, time and costs, and is therefore almost impossible for one researcher.
The last advantage of this interview method is that termination of a FtF interview is easy, compared to other interview methods.
In the interaction between interviewer and interviewee enough clues can be given that the end of the interview is near, for example by shuffling the papers and turning off the tape recorder.
An explicit way to terminate the interview is by thanking the interviewee for cooperation and asking him or her if there are further remarks that might be relevant to the topic or the interview process. Due to the asynchronous communication of place, one of the advantages of telephone interviewing is the extended access to participants , compared to FtF interviews.
People from all over the globe can be interviewed—of course if they have access to telephone or computer. FtF interviewing can be very expensive and takes too much time. Hard to reach populations. It enables researchers to contact populations that might be difficult to work with on an FtF basis for example mothers at home with small children, shift workers, computer addicts and people with disabilities.
This enables the researcher to collect more accurate data because the answers are first hand and there is room for clarification. Qualitative research, when used alongside quantitative data, helps avoid prejudgments. It can explain why a particular response was given. This provides insights on the reasons behind people's actions and their feelings towards various actions.
It is also more informative and compelling, providing a more realistic feel of the world. Qualitative research creates openness during research. By encouraging people to expound on their answers, responses can bring up new topics not initially considered, but equally as important.
Qualitative research displays its own strengths however, this is also associated with some disadvantages and these include the following: • The quality of research is heavily dependent on the skills of the researcher and can be easily influenced by personal idiosyncrasies and biases of researchers.
The advantages and disadvantages of qualitative research are quite unique. On one hand, you have the perspective of the data that is being collected. On the other hand, you have the techniques of the data collector and their own unique observations that can alter the information in subtle ways.
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Qualitative data provides a rich, detailed picture to be built up about why people act in certain ways, and their feelings about these actions. However, it is important to be aware of the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative data analysis as this may influence your choice of data collection. Rahman () discusses the advantages, disadvantages, and ethical issues of employing qualitative and quantitative methods in a research project in the field of language testing and assessment.