Whilst it attains is subjective and impressionistic, quantitative

it is commonly misconceived that one method is superior to the other,
qualitative and quantitative research methods serve different uses.1 Whilst qualitative research
deals with verbal, non-numerical and descriptive or evaluative data, and the
information it attains is subjective and impressionistic, quantitative research
is concerned with measurement, as it gathers the verbal numerical data or
information, converting it into analysable and measurable data. 2  What
are the differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods? i. UseQualitative
research is ideal for exploring a subject, shedding light on a problem,
developing ideas or hypothesis for potential quantitative research and gaining
an insight about underlying reasons, opinions and motivations. Quantitative
research will quantify the problem, attitudes, opinions, behaviours or other
defined variables, and generate results in numerical data that can be converted
into useable statistics. For this reason qualitative is used early on in the research
since it will help deduce the area of hypothesis whilst quantitative is used later
on in the research since it is more focused.3 ii. GoalWhilst
qualitative data can provide directional insights about people’s thoughts, feelings,
and emotions and so on, quantitative data offers an insight about numerical
facts. In user research, quantitative data will give information about ‘what’
the users did whilst qualitative data will provide information about ‘why’ they
did it.4 Thus qualitative data will
give the study meaning and factual interpretation, as well as the human angle
that quantitative data does not. As Gummesson says; “Counting and classifying can only take one so far. Meaning and
interpretation are required to give significance to counts and classifications
and these come from qualitative research.” Whilst
the hypothesis of qualitative research is broad, the hypothesis of quantitative
is narrow, and whilst the qualitative method will provide a whole picture view,
the quantitative method provides a more focused view. Whilst qualitative method
attains more in-depth information on a few cases, the quantitative method
provides less-in depth information but across a larger number of cases.5 In addition, qualitative
is an explanatory type of research whilst quantitative is a conclusive type of
research. iii. Data collection
methods Qualitative
data collection methods make use of unstructured or semi-structured techniques,
which can be converted into structured data through analysis methods, such as
focus groups, individual interviews, in-depth interviews, observation or
immersion, diary studies and reviews of documents for types of themes. The
sample size is small since it does not aim to find statistical significance. On
the other hand quantitative data collection methods, which use a larger sample
population, are more structured, making use of various forms of surveys, such
as online surveys, paper surveys, mobile surveys, and kiosk surveys,
face-to-face interviews, telephone interviews, longitudinal studies, website
interceptors, online polls, reviews of records or documents for numeric
information and systematic observations.6 iv. Other qualities;-         
Process: The
process of the qualitative method is a primarily inductive process used to formulate
theory or hypothesis, whilst the quantitative method process is a primarily
deductive one used to test pre-specified concepts. –         
qualitative method is more subjective, as it describes a problem or condition
from the point of view of the person experiencing it. The quantitative method
is more objective as it provides observed effects, as interpreted by
researchers, of a program on a problem or condition.  –         
Reliability: The
reliability of the qualitative method largely depends on the skill and rigour
of the researcher whilst the reliability of the quantitative method largely
depends on the measurement device or instrument used. –         
Time expenditure: The
planning phase requires heavier time expenditure using the quantitative method,
whilst in the qualitative method, it is the analysis phase which requires
heavier time expenditure. –         
Response options: The
response options in the case of a qualitative method are unstructured or
semi-structured whilst in the case of quantitative they are fixed.7 (ii) Whilst for the first
half of the twentieth century the quantitative research method was dominant as
there was the positivistic belief that the social world can be quantified
objectively, through the influence of Kuhn’s work, and new approaches such as
critical research and phenomenography, there was a shift from the quantitative
to qualitative research methods.8 Both research methods have
benefits, and downsides, and this usually depends on the researcher’s aim and
area of focus.9Qualitative research is
most beneficial during the early stage of the study when the researcher is
still unsure of the hypothesis. This method can be considered to be the more
flexible research method, as it allows for the amendment of the research
framework as new information emerges, thereby avoiding the heavy reliance of
the researcher’s pre-determined assumptions. Furthermore, there is more
flexibility as interviews need not be limited to specific questions as they can
be redirected by the researcher in real time.10 The qualitative research
method is beneficial to the researcher since it procures detailed and richer
data which is text-based rather than numerical. The fact that rich, in-depth
detail is possible gives participants the possibility to elaborate on what they
mean, giving the participants a bigger voice when compared to the limited
access to data in a survey.11 In fact whilst it can
explore the questions ‘What?’ and ‘To what extent?’ the quantitative method
does not explore the ‘Why?’ or ‘How?’ The quantitative research method explores
less detail, since results are based on numerical responses, they will not
offer much insight into thoughts and behaviours. Unlike in the
quantitative research method, the human factor is also considered in the
qualitative research method, which studies people’s thoughts, and feelings, the
rationale for their actions, as well as their attitude or perception through
individual cases or events.12 Qualitative research
enables one to tackle sensitive issues, to appreciate the wider social context
of people’s experiences and to make connections across different areas of
participants’ lives.13 Subtleties and
complexities about the research subjects and/or topic are exposed through this
research method which would have not been through positivistic enquiries. In
fact qualitative data can help the researcher understand behind the action and
not merely see its result.14 It is important to note
that the data acquired based on human experience is often more powerful and
compelling than that acquired through quantitative research. On the other hand the
quantitative research method does not fully explore the complexity of human
experience, as this type of research does not study things in a natural setting15 but in an artificial
controlled environment, making results different to ‘real world’ findings.16 It may be restricting
since pre-set answers may not truly reflect people’s feelings, as they are
urged to pick a different answer to the truth. The qualitative research
method may be criticised for being subjective since the research is more easily
influenced by the researcher’s personal biases and idiosyncrasies.17 The researcher in a study
using qualitative research is greatly involved in the data gathering as well as
the interpretation of the study tainting the study with the researcher’s
subjective view.18
Objectivity and accuracy are heightened in the quantitative method on the other
hand due to the fact that few variables are involved, and the data does not
relate to open-ended information. To make it reliable however this method would
require a larger sample of the population.19The extensive amount of
data in qualitative research renders the analysis, interpretation and the
characterization of data in a visual way more difficult, time-consuming and
complex. S. Kvale does not see this as a disadvantage however saying “The complexities of validating qualitative
research need not be due to a weakness of qualitative methods, but on the
contrary, may rest upon their extraordinary power to reflect and conceptualize
the nature of the phenomenon investigated, to capture the complexity of the
social reality.” Consistency may be difficult
to maintain in qualitative research, and this research method may be unreliable
due to the fact that different results may be obtained from different people at
a different time.20 Because of its use of
statistical methods, making it appropriate to test hypotheses in experiments,
and for systematic, standardised comparisons, the quantitative method is more
reliable than the qualitative research method.Privacy issues when using
the qualitative method can cause problems in presenting findings. Data collection
using quantitative research can be digital and thus faster and easier, as well
as more cost effective.21 With regard to
quantitative research, due to the large sample sizes, a broader study can be
made, more subjects can be involved and the results are thus more generalised. Finally, qualitative
research may not be so commonly accepted as quantitative research in the
scientific community.22 (iii)
With ongoing ‘paradigm wars’ between the methodological research, the ‘mixed
methods’ approach is now a way for both methods to be “combined in order to compensate for their mutual and overlapping
This would ensure the balance of limitations of one type of data with the
strengths of another. A
‘mixed-method evaluation’ which “systematically
integrates two or more evaluation methods, potentially at every stage of the
evaluation process”, may make use of multiple designs, such different data
collection techniques for example structured observations, key informant
interviews, household surveys and reviews of existing secondary data. The
mixed-method design is used because a single evaluation question may require
more than one method for all components; more than one method may be needed in
order to improve reliability (triangulation); or more than one method is used
for future phases of the evaluation. Other benefits of the mixed-method design
include exposing unforeseen results, acquiring a deeper understanding of
reform, as well as uncovering a wide range of perspectives that may not have
been exposed through a single method.24How
are methods mixed? A.    
data is gathered: 1.     
Parallel data gathering; qualitative and quantitative data
is gathered at the same time (ex. a close-ended questionnaire and
semi-structured observations) and after the data is analysed, the findings can
be either triangulated (if intended to answer different questions), or combined/synthesised
(if they were meant to answer different questions).252.     
Sequential Data Gathering; combining qualitative and
quantitative data by alternating between them in the following ways: (i) First
qualitative data collection, then quantitative data collection ex. qualitative
research can outline key issues and approaches to be explored further on or
develop hypotheses to be examined using quantitative research; (ii)
Quantitative data collection, then qualitative analysis – qualitative research
can be used to examine null hypotheses or explore unexpected outcomes; (iii)
Quantitative data collection then qualitative data collection – an initial
survey searching for cases, followed by an in-depth case study of
representative cases.26 B.    
Data is combined: 1.     
Component design; merging the data collected
independently at the end for interpretation and conclusions; sometimes these
components relate to different data sources or different aspects of the
Integrated design; combining different options during
the conduct of the evaluation to provide more insightful understandings.27 (iv)
Linking both research methods (the mixed method) is most beneficial for it will
enrich the study since the qualitative method will delineate issues,
information or variables not found through quantitative data, and will help in
the understanding of the unexpected results obtained from quantitative data. It
is also beneficial due to the fact that the hypotheses produced from
qualitative work can then be studied through the quantitative approach.
Furthermore, qualitative data can be used to authenticate or discard results
from quantitative data (triangulation).28 Due
to the fact that legal research is diverse; in fact as per Manderson and Mohr’s
analysis, it is doctrinal, theoretical, interdisciplinary as well as
international or comparative,29 qualitative and quantitative
research methods should be combined for the best results. Whilst empirical
research in legal research mainly takes the form of collecting data from
primary sources such as legislations and case law, field research comprising
the use of questionnaires, interviews, surveys and other methods, is
significant in the relevant field of study, and should be used.Whilst
doctrinal data is the one most widely used in legal research30, it has clearly become
outdated to have one dominant methodology in law that overlooks the
sociological, philosophical, political and moral implications of law; for legal
research to focus on the narrative and the black letter approach. In fact, law
is a social phenomena; where there is society there is law (ubi societas, ubi
jus) and by combining doctrinal and empirical methods, law will be
contextualised to the society it analyses and regulates.31 Hence legal research now
requires a combination approach as observed by Justice Holmes Jr (1897); “for the fictional study of the law; the
black letter man may be the man of the present but the man of the future is the
man of statistics and the master of economics.” Finally
as Khadijah Mohamed in ‘Combining Methods in Legal Research’32 study puts it; “In legal research, combination of methods
between doctrinal and socio-legal is basically intended to achieve a
complimentary approach rather than being regarded as mutually exclusive
especially in terms of reducing the change of bias of limitation that may arise
by using a single strategy.”33

1 Benjamin Humphrey, ‘The Difference
Between Qualitative & Quantitative Research’ (Dovetailapp.com, 2018) https://dovetailapp.com/guides/qual-quant
accessed 7 January 2018

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2 Mike McConville and Wing Hong
(Eric) Chui, Research Methods For Law (2nd edn, Edinburgh University Press

3 Ibid.

4 Humphrey, ‘The Difference Between
Qualitative & Quantitative Research’

5 Barney G. Glaser, ‘Qualitative And
Quantitative Research’ (2008) 7 Grounded Theory Review http://groundedtheoryreview.com/2008/06/30/1052/
accessed 7 January 2018

6 Humphrey, ‘The Difference Between
Qualitative & Quantitative Research’

7 ‘Differences Between Qualitative
And Quantitative Research Methods’ (Orau.gov, 2018) https://www.orau.gov/cdcynergy/soc2web/content/phase05/phase05_step03_deeper_qualitative_and_quantitative.htm
accessed 7 January 2018

8 McConville and Chui, Research
Methods For Law

9 Catherine Jones, ‘Advantages &
Disadvantages Of Qualitative & Quantitative Research | Synonym’
(Classroom.synonym.com, 2018) https://classroom.synonym.com/advantages-disadvantages-of-qualitative-quantitative-research-12082716.html
accessed 7 January 2018

10 Christine Griffin, ‘The Advantages
And Limitations Of Qualitative Research In Psychology And Education’

11 Glaser, ‘Qualitative And
Quantitative Research’

12 Humphrey, ‘The Difference Between Qualitative
& Quantitative Research’

13 Griffin, ‘The Advantages And
Limitations Of Qualitative Research In Psychology And Education’

14 Claire Anderson, ‘Presenting And
Evaluating Qualitative Research’ (2010) 74 American Journal of Pharmaceutical

15 Jones, ‘Advantages &
Disadvantages Of Qualitative & Quantitative Research | Synonym’

16 Jason Mander, ‘Qualitative &
Quantitative Research Methods | Globalwebindex’ (GlobalWebIndex Blog, 2017) https://blog.globalwebindex.net/marketing/qualitative-vs-quantitative/
accessed 7 January 2018

17 Anderson, ‘Presenting And
Evaluating Qualitative Research’

18 Jones, ‘Advantages &
Disadvantages Of Qualitative & Quantitative Research | Synonym’

19 Ibid.

20 Qualitative and quantitative
research, Lancaster University, LUMS Effective Learning (2016)

21 Mander, ‘Qualitative &
Quantitative Research Methods | Globalwebindex’

22 Anderson, ‘Presenting And
Evaluating Qualitative Research’

23 Udo Kelle, ‘Combining Qualitative
And Quantitative Methods In Research Practice: Purposes And Advantages Pages
293-311’ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/239798572_Combining_qualitative_and_quantitative_methods_in_research_practice_Purposes_and_advantages
accessed 7 January 2018.

24Technical Note, Conducting
Mixed-Method Evaluations, US Aid, Version 1, June 2013

25 See Figure 1

26 See Figure 2

27 V J Caracelli and J C Greene,
‘Crafting Mixed-Option Evaluation Designs? New Directions For Evaluation’
(2004) 1997

28 Caracelli Valerie J. and Greene
Jennifer C., ‘Crafting Mixed-Option Evaluation Design’; V. J. Caracelli and J.
C. Greene, ‘Advances In Mixed-Option Evaluation: The Challenges And Benefits Of
Integrating Diverse Paradigms’ (2018) 460 New Directions for Program
Evaluation; S. Carvalho and H. White., ‘Combining The Quantitative And Qualitative
Approaches To Poverty Measurement And Analysis’ 1997 Technical Paper 366. The
World Bank: Washington D.C. 466; Jennifer C., Greene, Valerie J. Caracelli and
Wendy F. Graham, ‘Toward A Conceptual Framework For Mixed-Option Evaluation
Design’ (1989) 11 Educational Evaluation and Policy Analysis; Greene J., ‘Mixed
Options In Social Inquiry’ 2007 Jossey-Bass

29 McConville and Chui, Research
Methods For Law

30 Huchinson and Duncan (2012),
Bogdandy (2009), Fiona (2004), Zahraa (1998)

31 Frances Camilleri-Cassar and Kevin
Aquilina, ‘Legal Research Methods’ (Times of Malta, 2017) https://www.timesofmalta.com/articles/view/20170313/opinion/Legal-research-methods.642262
accessed 7 January 2018

32 Khadijah Mohamed, ‘Combining
Methods In Legal Research’ (2016) 21 The Social Sciences Medwell Journals

33 Mohamed, ‘Combining Methods In
Legal Research’