Are Surveys Qualitative Or Quantitative?

James Pithering
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Surveys are a common thing in our lives. Nearly every single day, we come across different types of surveys on different types of websites and platforms.

Are Surveys Qualitative Or Quantitative?

Surveys have been shown to be the most effective method for organizations to collect data and gain insight into several things. But are they qualitative or quantitative?

So, as far as this topic goes, let us delve deeper into it and arrive at a conclusion.

What Are Surveys?

Before delving into the essence of surveys, let us first define what kind of research surveys are.

According to the relevant Wiki page, surveys are lists of questions designed to elicit specific information from a specific group of individuals (You might also want to check out What Is A Leading Question).

As such, when we speak to an individual in person and pose questions about our studies, would that count as a survey? Yes, it would.

We can draw the conclusion that surveys are a series of questions posed to a random sample of the general public (Also check out What Are Sample Surveys?).

Their responses are useful for gaining knowledge and insights into our company or organization or any research that has been undertaken.

Because there are numerous methods for carrying out surveys, both in-person and online, organizations use online survey tools such as SurveyMonkey, to generate survey forms that thousands of people can access immediately.

A well-crafted survey and a well-thought-out methodology could do wonders for your business strategy. Not only large corporations but also all types of research teams did benefit in the past from using questionnaires as their primary source of data and insights.

Since we have now defined the kind of research surveys are, we can delve deeper into the question of whether surveys are qualitative or quantitative.

Definitions Of Qualitative And Quantitative Research

Quantitative Research

The statistical approach to evaluating and assessing research findings is referred to as quantitative research.

The focus of this type of research is to verify or test theories and models or hypotheses. A significant number of people are used as samples that researchers then study to discover recurring patterns and trends.

Quantitative research can be used to gain some insight into public perceptions, preferences, and behavioral patterns by receiving inputs from different groups of individuals.

Qualitative Research

The qualitative research method summarizes and analyzes information. Data is collected through discussions, interviews, surveys (Check out the How To Cite A Survey), and other means.

This information comes in the format of statements, phrases, and speculations and is employed to comprehend people’s perspectives on a given subject, idea, and expression.

It examines not just the things individuals think and believe, but also the reason behind their thinking in that specific way or believing in that specific thing.

For that reason, qualitative research is most suitable for an in-depth comprehension of difficult topic areas.

How Are Qualitative And Quantitative Research Different From One Another?

Before we determine what kind of research surveys are, we need to first comprehend these two types of study through a simple comparison. They are both essential for data assessment, but they differ significantly.

First of all, quantitative research has numerical and graphical data, whereas qualitative one has words, phrases, or sentences.

Secondly, quantitative research is implemented to validate theories and hypotheses, but a qualitative one’s intention is to help the researchers fully grasp a concept, an expression, or thought, among other things.

Thirdly, quantitative research has the potential to offer generalized information on a topic. On the other hand, qualitative research is aimed at getting deeper insight into complex subject matters.

Moreover, in quantitative research observations are assigned numbers, but in qualitative research, the theories are formed from observations.

Another difference between the two types of research plays a big part, and that is the fact that quantitative approaches use close-ended questions, in comparison to the open-ended qualitative methods.

Finally, in quantitative research, mathematics and statistical equations are used to analyze the results. In qualitative research, the data is categorized, summarized, and interpreted to produce the findings.

Are Surveys Qualitative Or Quantitative?

Advantages Of Carrying Out Quantitative Research

Quantitative research generates statistical data that can be quantified and analyzed in no time with the use of an online survey platform.

Nevertheless, there are additional advantages to quantitative research, which are:

  • It enables you to obtain a larger sample size (Also check out What Does n Mean In Statistics?).
  • It is possible to gather data faster.
  • It concentrates on facts.
  • The research is conducted in an anonymous manner, designed to allow for candid responses.
  • Respondents are not obligated to be observed.
  • It employs a diverse and broad range of samples.

Advantages Of Carrying Out Qualitative Research

Qualitative research allows you to listen to your respondents’ uncensored opinions. Below are a few of the advantages of conducting surveys that use qualitative research.

  • It offers more details for practical implementation.
  • As a result, it can use a smaller number of respondents.
  • It reduces the risk of biased data because everyone has a unique perspective on a subject.
  • Research teams can gather more data by asking open-ended questions.
  • It translates personal experiences into meaningful data.
  • It puts emphasis on the rationale behind one’s judgment instead of the details.
  • It is less expensive than other types of research.

Are Surveys Qualitative Or Quantitative?

Both these research methodologies can be used to produce a survey. You can design a survey that is entirely qualitative or entirely quantitative.

As both quantitative and qualitative methodologies are valid, it is even possible to create a survey that incorporates both (Also check out the How To Create A Podcast Survey).

This approach enables you to implement both methodologies. The main advantage of employing a mixed-methods approach is that you are able to draw both numerical and categorical results from your findings.

For example, you could include open-ended questions to gain a better understanding of the data input. You could also include closed-ended questions to get a numerical count on the subject.

The findings of all those varying questions will lead to a more thorough examination of the research topic.

The Bottom Line

A survey can be either qualitative or quantitative. It can even employ both these approaches together in a mixed-method questionnaire for those looking to derive both types of data. So, depending on the results you wish to gain, you can choose any type you want, or go for a mixed-method survey!

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