Theories and Methods: Advantages and Disadvantages of Qualitative and Quantitative

Advantages/Disadvantages of qualitative and quantitative data.

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Advantages Disadvantages
Quantitative Gives reliable data (can easily be repeated) -Doesn't give meanings as to why. No depth and insight into social
(Numbers) Good for comparisons of different groups interaction.
Official statistics are cheap and available to -People may lie in questionnaires
Used by sociologists. -Questionnaires are expensive to send out to a large scale of people
Positivists Easy to analyse tables, charts and graphs. - People completing the questionnaire may interpret the questions in
-Allow large samples, so the findings can different ways or not understand the questions- leading to false answers.
represent the general population. - Response rates of questionnaires may be low. (Unless there's a reward)
-Statistics can hide reality. They can distort the truth.
- Statistics can be politically biased.
Qualitative -Give reasons as to why things happen. Interviewer cannot take notes
(Meanings) - A detailed description of social behavior. Interviewer may be bias and change the wording of what was said later on,
-Valid data or misinterpret the group/ individual on they're studying.
Used by - In participant observation the researcher can get The Hawthorne Effect may occur, when the interviewee or person being
Interactionist taken right to where the action is. (Example: observed may change their behavior to try and please or impress the
s being part of a gang to see how they act) interviewer. (Especially when the observation is Overt)
-You don't have to force people into artificial They may lie
categories like in questionnaires. Not reliable (cannot easily be repeated)
- Lets you build up trust and research sensitive Sources may be fake (especially if they're secondary sources)
topics. Can take a long time to get any useful information out of people
Small scale. The findings may not represent the whole population.
Positivists say Qualitative results lack credibility because they're
subjective and open to interpretation.

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Primary Data- they find it themselves. Interviews, questionnaires, observations, experiment.
It doesn't rely on other sociologists research
You can choose your own method
Primary data will always be brand new and bang up to date
Although some methods can be expensive and time consuming
Some methods may put the researcher in dangerous situations
Some methods may be unethical if you don't give informed consent
The researcher own values may mess with the research process- this creates bias.…read more


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