留学生作业中大家经常会碰到quantitative research和qualitative research，其实这就是我们通常听到的定性、定量分析，也是同学们在写作英文作业论文时经常要使用到的重要研究方法。我们在国内非港澳台地区把“qualitative research”通常称之为定性分析，而在港澳台地区则是被称为质的研究，翻译方式上有所不同，但所指都是一样的。
两者区别是：定量的研究方法quantitative research，通俗理解来说，即主要整理收集并研究可做量化的信息数据（直接或间接的方式来获取，如面向留学生的问卷调查、企业财报、历年期货数据等等），最终形成也具量化的理论结果。与此相反，定性研究qualitative research的是基于非量化、多是口头性质的信息（如多用实际interview的方法来进行，优点是方便记录当下数据、得到被访者及时响应、并获取更多样性的信息资料），其具体分析过程则是从主观出发的阐述论述、主观判断甚至是合理的延伸假想，最终形成一篇理论严谨的定性研究作业。在商务领域，定量的分析方法是经常被用到的，如果单单凭借以往经验来判断决策是不行的，其核心当然就是“数据”了，所以特别是学习MBA的留学生要善于利用定量分析去完成各类作业。
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