The term quantitative research refers to studies that are characterized by quantification of all the elements or the variables that are being examined or investigated (Houser, 2013, p. 325). That is, the variables related to the topic being investigated can be measured numerically in quantitative research studies (Kendall, 2016, p. 34). Quantitative studies are also characterized by quantifiable data, control of extraneous variables, structured data collection techniques, representative sample, small sample, testable hypothesis, and positivism (Harvey & Land, 2016, p. 47).
In the quantitative study, “How do parents view psychological assessment and intervention for their children with ADHD in Saudi Arabia?”, Alqahtani (2017) used a cross-sectional survey design to gather quantitative data on parental experiences with their children who are living with ADHD on to find their opinion regarding medication and the importance of psychological assessment and interventions. The sample for this study comprised of “211 parents of children with ADHD” who were recruited into the study through strict inclusion and exclusion criteria (Alqahtani, 2017, p. 3). Specifically, the inclusion criteria of this study included parents whose children were diagnosed with ADHD and children above the age of 16 years. Parents with children who exhibited other medical conditions and their children were excluded from the study. Data collection was carried out using a self-report questionnaire, comprised of open and closed-ended questions, which assessed parents’ raising children with ADHD.
The data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. First, the researcher reported that participants’ sociodemographic characteristics statistically by using percentages or proportions. Parental experiences regarding their experiences about their children’s ADHD was also analyzed and reported in the form of descriptive statistics. Findings of descriptive analysis showed that the common behavioral problems that made the parents to take their children to clinic include Hyperactive/Disruptive behavior, attention deficit, poor school performance, impulsivity, and poor social skills. The prevalence of these behavioral problems was reported to be 50.7%, 82.5%, 90.9%, 35.1%, and 15.2% respectively.
In contrast, qualitative research is aimed at collecting non-numerical data aimed at addressing the phenomenon of interest to the study (Punch, 2016, p. 5). To collection non-numerical data (such as opinions and views), qualitative researchers utilize qualitative measures; where data are recorded in a non-numerical form (Trochim, Donnelly, & Arora, 2015, p. 57). Some of the characteristics of qualitative research studies or methodologies include the use of personal voice, visuals or artifacts, words or quotes, and narrative description (Ary, Jacobs, Irvine, & Walker, 2018, p. 377). Other characteristics of qualitative methodologies include simultaneous data collection and analysis (inductive analysis), emergent design, the use of descriptive data, human investigator as the primary instrument of data collection, data collection in natural settings, and concern for context and meaning (Ary et al., 2018, pp. 377–378).
In the qualitative study, “What is it like to take antipsychotic medication? A qualitative study of patients with first-episode psychosis,” Gray and Deane (2016) used interviews (focus groups, individual interviews, and face to face interviews) to examine or understand patients with psychosis experiences of taking antipsychotic drugs. Thematic data analysis, a type of qualitative data analysis, was used to understand participants’ experiences taking antipsychotic drugs. Some of the themes which emerged from this analysis include the effect of drugs on mood and side effects of the drugs.
Advantages and Disadvantages of the Research Methods
Some advantages are associated with the use of either quantitative or qualitative research studies. One of the advantages of quantitative studies is the use of statistical software to analyze data collecting. Thus less time is used to analyze and report the data. Alqahtani’s (2017) study, data was analyzed using SPSS. Another advantage of using a quantitative research study is that there the findings of the study can be generalized into other populations. This was primarily the case when the sample used in the study was recruited into the study through random sampling techniques. However, in the current Alqahtani’s (2017) study, the generalizability of the findings of the study is limited by the small sample size, which was reported by the researchers as the major.
On the other hand, one of the advantages that is linked to the use of qualitative studies or methodological approaches is that it generates a detailed description of participants’ experiences, opinions, and feelings. In Gray and Deane’s (2016) study, the detailed description of participants’ experiences, opinions, and feelings is reported in the form of direct quotes. This enables the reader to understand responds’ opinions or views. However, one of the disadvantages that can be seen in Gray and Deane’s (2016) study is that it takes much time to collect data.
Is Qualitative Research Science?
Qualitative research is not a scientific approach to examining a phenomenon or a problem. This is because, in qualitative studies, the researchers do not perform experiments or manipulate the independent variables to investigate their effect on the dependent variables. For instance, in Gray and Deane’s (2016) study, the researchers did not manipulate the variables but directly collected the data through interviews. Also, qualitative studies are not scientific because they lack generalizability. This is because the researchers are recruited to the study through non-random sampling techniques. For instance, in Gray and Deane’s (2016) study, researchers purposefully sampled the participants.
Alqahtani, M. M. J. (2017). How do parents view psychological assessment and intervention for their children with ADHD in Saudi Arabia? Asia Pacific Journal of Counselling and Psychotherapy, 8(1), 41–52.
Ary, D., Jacobs, L. C., Irvine, C. K. S., & Walker, D. (2018). Introduction to research in education. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Gray, R., & Deane, K. (2016). What is it like to take antipsychotic medication? A qualitative study of patients with first-episode psychosis. Journal of Psychiatric and Mental Health Nursing, 23(2), 108–115.
Harvey, M., & Land, L. (2016). Research methods for nurses and midwives: theory and practice. New York, NY: Sage.
Houser, J. (2013). Nursing research: reading, using and creating evidence. Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Publishers.
Kendall, D. (2016). Sociology in our times. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.
Punch, K. F. (2016). Developing effective research proposals. New York, NY: Sage Publishing.
Trochim, Donnelly, & Arora, K. (2015). Research methods: the essential knowledge base. Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.