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Quantitative & Qualitative Analysis -- Research Starters Sociology

By: Wienclaw, Ruth A.;

2009 / EBSCO


In the physical sciences, data are typically measurable and quantifiable so that they can be meaningfully analyzed using inferential statistics. In the social and behavioral sciences, on the other hand, not all data of interest can be reduced to numbers in this way. Therefore, it is important that social and behavioral scientists collect both quantitative and qualitative data to better understand behavior. Qualitative research paradigms (i.e., field observation, survey research, and secondary analysis) give researchers a depth and breadth of the understanding of human behavior that cannot be otherwise gained. However, it is through quantitative research paradigms (i.e., experiments, simulation, field experiments) that hypotheses can be tested and meaningful predictions made of real-world behavior. Both qualitative and quantitative data and their concomitant research paradigms are important parts of social and behavioral science research, and are essential to understanding behavior and advancing these sciences.