Quantitative and Qualitative Methods

Introduction 

Research methods vary from one research project to the other, owing to the unique needs of different researchers. Virtually, there are two main types of research methodology – qualitative and quantitative research. This paper will focus on differentiating the two and go further to draw the lines between experimental and non-experimental research methods. A peer-reviewed research paper will be used to demonstrate the application of such research methodologies.

Differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods 

Neuman (2013) asserts, quantitative research methods are mostly used and they highly make use of mathematical and statistical methods to evaluate and prove the hypothesis. Qualitative methods on the other hands aim at deciphering and understanding social issues by evaluating peoples’ thoughts and feelings about a particular issue. Taking a closer look at the two, it becomes apparent that quantitative research focuses on the results while qualitative research focuses on the process. Going further, quantitative research is conclusive as it utilizes measurable data acquired using statistical methods thus making results generalizable, while qualitative research is exploratory and less generalizable. Neuman (2013) explains that the objectives of the quantitative research are establishing a cause and effect relationship between variables in question and in the end; these kinds of studies give recommendations for further research. Presentation of results in quantitative research is through graphical means while in qualitative means, it is through narrations, pictures, and objects. 

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“Does the Amount of Time Mothers Spend with Children or Adolescents Matter?” Review

The study utilized a quantitative research methodology. The study used a sample size of 1,605 for children between the ages of 3-11 years and a sample size of 778 for adolescents of ages 12-18 years. Data for the study was collected using interviews and diaries, which were pre-set by the researcher. The diaries were similar to questionnaires, which are prominent in quantitative studies. The dependent variables in the study included children and adolescent developmental outcomes, while independent variables were accessible and engaged time with the mother. To analyze the data, the study used data analysis software by the name Stata. The ordinary least squares regressions analysis was conducted on the data.  

Experimental and non-experimental researches are different in a unique way. To begin with, experimental research must have the following three elements – independent, dependent variable, and a control group. The aim of experimental studies is to establish a cause and effect relationship between variables. The control group is excluded from the treatment offered to the experimental group to determine if there is a difference between both the treated and controlled group. On the other hand, non-experimental studies do not have the element of manipulation of variables since the studies are conducted in their most natural settings. Such studies include those that are predominantly descriptive, correlational, or surveys

Based on the argument above, the study by Milkie et al. (2015) is non-experimental. The study was conducted in its natural setting and the researchers did not manipulate any of the variables. The study did not have a control group. The study utilized surveys of children and adolescents in their natural settings, which is their families. To conclude, the researchers relied on the interpretation of the analysis. 

Conclusion 

Research methodologies are selected based on the objectives of the study. Both quantitative and qualitative studies are to be used at the will of the researcher based on how well they fit the objectives. The study by Milkie et al. (2015) has utilized quantitative methodology and has used a non-experimental method to reach its conclusion.  

References

Neuman, W. L. (2013). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Pearson education.Milkie, M. A., Nomaguchi, K. M., & Denny, K. E. (2015). Does the amount of time mothers spend with children or adolescents matter? Journal of Marriage and Family, 77(2), 355-372.

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