Qualitative and Quantitative Research Method

Qualitative Research Question

Qualitative research is mainly used in social sciences. However, the method can be applied in other disciplines such as marketing and psychology (Finlay, 2002). This research method aims at studying human behavior and determining the reasons which trigger such behavior. It also tries to know how people behave and why they behave in that manner.

While conducting qualitative research, it is important to formulate research questions which try to answer the phenomenon which is being studied. Research questions thus narrow down the scoop of study. This ensures that the researcher only focuses on relevant information. By doing so, the research will be more reliable as it would have focused only on the relevant information for the study at hand. In psychological studies, the following can be a research question for a specific study:

What is the effect of domestic violence in the academic performance of female students who are between the ages of 12 to 15 years in the United States?

This research question tries to address the influence of domestic violence on the performance of female students. The available literature that is present in this field shows that there is a correlation between domestic violence and performance of female students. Since domestic violence is very common in many families, this study will try to determine the relationship it has with performance so that necessary precautions can be taken to solve the problem at hand.

Quantitative Research Question

Quantitative research on the other hand is slightly different as compared to qualitative research. In quantitative research, the entire population or study group is involved in the study. This is done to minimize missing out on important factors which may affect the outcome of the study. This is because qualitative research is mainly conducted to determine a phenomenon which has not been studied before. Quantitative research on the other hand is conducted to get an in-depth understanding of a known phenomenon. It uses sampling and other parametric tests to investigate, collect and analyze data. To narrow down the study, a sample of the entire population is studied. The inferences that will be made from the results will be generalized to reflect the entire population (Blank and McCartney, 1989).

To ensure that the study is valid, effective and efficient, quantitative studies use research questions which assist in investigating the phenomenon that us being studied. To make the study to me more precise, a hypothesis is formulated. A research hypothesis is a core statement of the study which is used to define the expected outcome of the study (Shuttleworth, 2008). A research hypothesis is formulated using the process of inductive reasoning where normal observations are used to formulate the hypothesis. Below is an example of a research question and hypothesis of the study.

Is there a correlation of teachers’ engagement in education between male and female schools?

  • Ho. There is a correlation of teachers’ engagement in education between male and female schools.
  • HA. There is no correlation of teachers’ engagement in education between male and female schools.

A relationship can be easily identified between the research question above and the corresponding hypothesis. This is because the hypothesis is used to back up the theory or phenomenon that is being investigated in the study. This phenomenon and the scoop of investigations are dependent on the research question that is formulated. Therefore, for a study to be successful, strong research questions and corresponding hypotheses should be formulated.


Blank, G. and McCartney, J. (1989). New technology in sociology: practical applications in research and work. London: Transaction Publishers.

Finlay, L. (2002). Negotiating the swamp: The opportunity and challenge of in research practice. Qualitative Research, 2(2): 209–30.

Shuttleworth, M. (2008). Research hypothesis. Experiment Resources. Web.