Strategies in Qualitative and Quantitative Research

Harald Witt


Conducting qualitative and quantitative research does not merely involve different methods for data collection and analysis; an even more fundamental difference concerns the research strategies used. Differences in this respect are so considerable that communication about research strategies between "quantitative" and "qualitative" researchers is beset with difficulties—even among "qualitative" researchers. This contribution is an attempt to pinpoint the most important differences. Qualitative research is exemplified by the approach put forward by KLEINING (1982; 1995). KLEINING has stressed the importance of the heuristic moment in qualitative research; he assumes that all research methods are based on everyday methods, and he has advanced four rules for conducting qualitative research. The ideas of this concept are described in an article in this volume of FQS. Especially the four rules are discussed in more detail (KLEINING & WITT in this issue). The research strategy resulting on this basis can be described as circular; it will be contrasted with the linear strategy used in quantitative research. By contrasting these two strategies I want to demonstrate how both strategies necessarily arise out of the respective research orientation and how deviations from the strategies result in grave damage to the quality of the respective research.
URN: urn:nbn:de:0114-fqs010189


research strategy; qualitative research; quantitative research; heuristics; comparability; representativity


Copyright (c) 2001 Harald Witt

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