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The characteristic of quantitative and qualitative methods of sociological research

The characteristic of quantitative and qualitative methods of sociological research

All methods of gathering of the information in sociological researches can be divided(shared) into two big groups: quantitative and qualitative.

Quantitative researches are intended for studying objective, quantitatively characteristics of behaviour of people. Quantitative researches are mainly descriptive.

Processing of the information in such researches is carried out with the help of the ordered procedures, quantitative on the nature. To sample in quantitative researches the rigid requirements basing the theory of probability and mathematical statistics are showed. In this connection carry of the conclusions received on the basis of studying of a sample, on all general set is possible(probable).

Qualitative researches it is intended for reception with the help of special engineering of the so-called deep information. Qualitative research can be named . Qualitative research allows to receive the information on motives of behaviour, installations of people that is to receive the answer to a question: " Why? ". Rigid requirements to sample and mathematical acknowledgement(confirmation) of reliability of the received information to such researches are inapplicable.

" Qualitative research is a process of opening whereas quantitative is a process of the proof and acknowledgement(confirmation) " [10, with 5]

differences of qualitative methods from quantitative are shown in tab.. 1 which is made in view of K.Plamera's similar tables and V.V.Semenovoj, but differs from them [8, with. 204-205].


Comparison of quantitative and qualitative methods of sociological researches


The bases of comparison

Quantitative methods

Qualitative methods






The purpose of application


Microsociological research


The purpose of application

To give an explanation of the reasons of the investigated phenomenon

To understand the investigated phenomenon


Research problems(tasks)

a. To measure parameters of the phenomenon;

b. To establish interrelations between separate parameters;

a. To reveal a picture of the phenomenon;

b. the phenomenon to interpret it(him)


Position of the researcher

The "foreign" observer

"Sympathizing" participant


In the centre of attention of researchers

a. Social structures and institutes;

b. Objective factors;

c. The general(common) social processes

a. The person;

b. Subjective factors;

c. Especial, private(individual) processes


Research hypotheses are formulated

Prior to the beginning of data gathering

In process of mastering by the data


Research tools

a. Are developed up to a field stage;

b. Are formalized, in many respects are identical to all researchers

a. Are defined(determined) both up to a field stage, and in his(its) course;

b. , reflect individual research experience


Research procedures

Are standardized; their duplication is supposed

Are less standardized; are duplicated seldom


Units of the analysis

The facts, events, statements, certificates(acts) of behaviour

Subjective values of the facts for the individual


Logic of the analysis

Deductive: from abstraction to the facts by concepts

Inductive: from the facts to concepts


The basic ways of the analysis

a. Classification by an identification of cases;

b. Statistical ways;

c. Ordering

a. The description of cases without their identification;

b. By generalization of the revealed estimations;



The given researches are represented as:

Statistical distributions, parameters, indexes and .

Statements, documents, intellectual products of group discussions etc.


(reliability) is reached(achieved) authentic

Recurrence of the established communications(connections)

The description of cases and the revealed opinions


Style of research

Rigid, cold

Soft, warm

Quantitative and qualitative researches cannot be opposed, as they are interconnected and supplement each other. Only at such approach to their application reception of a trustworthy information is possible. Results of qualitative researches can be transferred(translated) in the quantitative form with the help, for example, such quantitative method, as the -analysis. At realization of quantitative researches qualitative technologies of reception of the information (the association, the unfinished offers, questions - traps etc.) are frequently used.

Nevertheless, it is necessary to remember, that quantitative and qualitative methods have the specific research purposes, the applicabilities, preferable objects of studying.

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