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The pros and cons of quantitative research

Both quantitative and qualitative research have their benefits and drawbacks. Which research method you use will depend on the nature of your research study, although of course, you may opt to do mixed methods research, in which case you can employ both qualitative and qualitative research methods. The pros and cons of quantitative research have been extensively debated, and in the past, generally, science students mainly employed quantitative methods, while humanities students used qualitative research methods.

However, research has now become more rigorous, with humanity students developing computer models, and having a hand in the development of databases. In 2015 the Guardian newspaper reported that a graduate student in the English department at the illustrious Stanford University had developed a computer program which is able to predict bestsellers on the New York Times listings. Humanities researchers have also developed a database which can track (among other things) the development of the Transatlantic slave trade. Yet another database is being used to preserve and publish the Dead Sea scrolls. There are many other examples of humanities students transferring their skills so that they inform scientific fields.

It is the academics from the wold’s humanities departments who explore ethical issues and work put how the past can inform the present. It is the humanities that teach students about the world outside the four walls of a classroom. In today’s world critical-thinking skills are at a premium, and these, as well as the very necessary communication skills, are taught in humanities departments.

 

However, humanities departments are often poorly funded and undervalued.

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  • This type of research is quick and cost-effective to do as opposed to qualitative research, which takes longer to do and is also more expensive.
  • Researchers undertaking quantitative research studies are able to test their hypotheses.
  • The statistical nature of such research allows researchers to generalise.
  • Researchers can readily understand the relationship between dependent and independent variables.
  • Quantitative research is extremely useful when conducting large surveys, for example a nationwide census.
  • Because quantitative research is all about numbers and figures, it can’t be misinterpreted,
  • This method employs the use of statistics which enable researchers to understand large amounts of information.
  • The data can be collected can be analysed quickly. Also, the results can be generalised to include a whole nation if a valid random sampling technique is employed.
  • A researcher can guarantee anonymity to participants in a quantitative research study.
  • A researcher can explore topics in depth using qualitative research methods.
  • More details can be extracted and explored by using qualitative research methods.
  • The researcher can explore hypotheses from many perspectives.
  • Qualitative research can also be used to add depth and colour to quantitative research.

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