Qualitative v. Quantitative Research Reflection

Initially, after learning, reading, and researching about these to methods of approaching research in the social work field, I found myself immediately drawn towards quantitative research. Numbers make sense to me and it seems incredibly logical and convenient in theory for me to be able to reduce the human experience into a data set of numbers which I can then calculate and compute to give me a meaningful answer. However, it’s become clear to me over these past few weeks through studying and reading more qualitative studies, that they can be an incredibly valuable resource to actually understanding with and sympathizing with the material we are researching. I believe that qualitative research gives the researcher as well as the person applying the conclusions reached from the research into practice a good understanding of the human component and nuances that go into implementing interventions. Often, it seems that qualitative research can explore the complexities a little more delicately than quantitative research might be able to because the data is becoming synthesized into numbers. Qualitative research does have it’s downfalls though. While all forms of research is subject to various biases, it would seem that qualitative research has a higher risk because, instead of interpreting numbers and calculations, we must interpret human thoughts, feelings, and experiences, which are much less concrete variables. It also may be harder to reach a definitive, mathematically supported answer to the question being posed. Ultimately, I believe mixed methods approach could take the advantages of both methods and combine them so that the research covers both the concrete evidence presented through quantitative researched with the complex insight of the qualitative research.

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