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SPH Clinical Methods II: Evidence-Based Practice

What is Qualitative Research?

Quantitative research gathers data that can be measured numerically and analyzed mathematically. Quantitative research attempts to answer research questions through the quantification of data. 

Indicators of quantitative research include:

  • contains statistical analysis 

  • large sample size 

  • objective - little room to argue with the numbers 

  • types of research: descriptive studies, exploratory studies, experimental studies, explanatory studies, predictive studies, clinical trials 

What is Quantitative Research?

Qualitative research is based upon data that is gathered by observation. Qualitative research articles will attempt to answer questions that cannot be measured by numbers but rather by perceived meaning. Qualitative research will likely include interviews, case studies, ethnography, or focus groups. 

Indicators of qualitative research include:

  • interviews or focus groups 

  • small sample size 

  • subjective - researchers are often interpreting meaning 

  • methods used: phenomenology, ethnography, grounded theory, historical method, case study 

Video: Empirical Studies: Qualitative vs. Quantitative

Video: Empirical Studies: Qualitative vs. Quantitative

This video from USU Libraries walks you through the differences between quantitative and qualitative research methods. (5:51 minutes) Creative Commons Attribution license (reuse allowed)

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