留學生作業中大家經常會碰到quantitative research和qualitative research，其實這就是我們通常聽到的定性、定量分析，也是同學們在寫作英文作業論文時經常要使用到的重要研究方法。我們在國內非港澳臺地區把“qualitative research”通常稱之為定性分析，而在港澳臺地區則是被稱為質的研究，翻譯方式上有所不同，但所指都是一樣的。
兩者區別是：定量的研究方法quantitative research，通俗理解來說，即主要整理收集并研究可做量化的信息數據（直接或間接的方式來獲取，如面向留學生的問卷調查、企業財報、歷年期貨數據等等），最終形成也具量化的理論結果。與此相反，定性研究qualitative research的是基于非量化、多是口頭性質的信息（如多用實際interview的方法來進行，優點是方便記錄當下數據、得到被訪者及時響應、并獲取更多樣性的信息資料），其具體分析過程則是從主觀出發的闡述論述、主觀判斷甚至是合理的延伸假想，最終形成一篇理論嚴謹的定性研究作業。在商務領域，定量的分析方法是經常被用到的，如果單單憑借以往經驗來判斷決策是不行的，其核心當然就是“數據”了，所以特別是學習MBA的留學生要善于利用定量分析去完成各類作業。
Qualitative vs Quantitative Research
Here’s a more detailed point-by-point comparison between the two types of research:
1. Goal or Aim of the Research
The primary aim of a Qualitative Research is to provide a complete, detailed description of the research topic. It is usually more exploratory in nature.
Quantitative Research on the other hand focuses more in counting and classifying features and constructing statistical models and figures to explain what is observed.
Read also: Aims of Research
Hypothesis Broad Narrow
Description Whole picture Focused
Type of Research Exploratory Conclusive
Qualitative Research is ideal for earlier phases of research projects while for the latter part of the research project, Quantitative Research is highly recommended. Quantitative Research provides the researcher a clearer picture of what to expect in his research compared to Qualitative Research.
Phase Early Late
3. Data Gathering Instrument
The researcher serves as the primary data gathering instrument in Qualitative Research. Here, the researcher employs various data-gathering strategies, depending upon the thrust or approach of his research. Examples of data-gathering strategies used in Qualitative Research are individual in-depth interviews, structured and non-structured interviews, focus groups, narratives, content or documentary analysis, participant observation and archival research.
On the other hand, Quantitative Research makes use of tools such as questionnaires, surveys, measurements and other equipment to collect numerical or measurable data.
4. Type of Data
The presentation of data in a Qualitative Research is in the form of words (from interviews) and images (videos) or objects (such as artifacts). If you are conducting a Qualitative Research what will most likely appear in your discussion are figures in the form of graphs. However, if you are conducting a Quantitative Research, what will most likely appear in your discussion are tables containing data in the form of numbers and statistics.
Qualitative Research is primarily subjective in approach as it seeks to understand human behavior and reasons that govern such behavior. Researchers have the tendency to become subjectively immersed in the subject matter in this type of research method.
In Quantitative Research, researchers tend to remain objectively separated from the subject matter. This is because Quantitative Research is objective in approach in the sense that it only seeks precise measurements and analysis of target concepts to answer his inquiry.
Read also: Qualitative research, Quantitative research
Determining Which Method Should Be Used
Debates have been ongoing, tackling which method is better than the other. The reason why this remains unresolved until now is that, each has its own strengths and weaknesses which actually vary depending upon the topic the researcher wants to discuss. This then leads us to the question “Which method should be used?"
If your study aims to find out the answer to an inquiry through numerical evidence, then you should make use of the Quantitative Research. However, if in your study you wish to explain further why this particular event happened, or why this particular phenomenon is the case, then you should make use of Qualitative Research.
Some studies make use of both Quantitative and Qualitative Research, letting the two complemen