Social science research: qualitative and quantitative methods

Social science research relies heavily on measurements and analysis and interpretation of numerical and non-numerical data. Quantitative research methods focus on statistical approaches and qualitative methods are based on content analysis, comparative analysis, grounded theory, and interpretation (Strauss, 1990). Quantitative methods emphasize objective measurements and numerical analysis of data collected through surveys, questionnaires or surveys and qualitative research focuses on understanding social phenomena through interviews, personal comments, etc. Quantitative and qualitative methods are studied in the context of positivist and phenomenological paradigms (, 2006).

Applications of research methods could be studied in the context of business and management or in social psychology to understand a social process. Some of the basic tools for qualitative or quantitative research are related to data collection methods that can be case studies, questionnaires or interviews (Simon et al, 1985). Management research methods focus on leadership studies and leadership problems are examined according to contingency theory and organizational theory. The effects of leadership are best studied with the help of qualitative or quantitative research methods and analysis of questionnaires sent to participants in managerial positions.

However, the research methods focus not only on management issues, but also on social processes, for example, a study on the interaction between age, physical exercise and gender. Some disadvantages and possible failures of such methods may be related to the abuse or misuse of interview techniques, inadequate data collection methods, and the reliability of the data. The methodological approach and data collection techniques are important in research and constitute an important aspect of the study (Simon, 1985). The case study approach is especially useful in analyzing business environments and perceptual mapping techniques are used for market research. Focus groups and surveys are used as other preferred data collection methods, especially in commercial settings (, 2006).

Interpretive research can be seen as an important aspect of qualitative analysis, although, as with all qualitative data, subjective bias can be an impediment to the validity of such approaches. When studying research methods, it would be necessary to highlight the differences between qualitative and quantitative methods, although it has also been argued that an integrated approach to social analysis could bridge the gap between quantitative and qualitative methods and both methods could be used for social purposes. Research studies. In fact, there may not be a specific correct research method, as each method appears to have its strengths and weaknesses and these factors must be carefully examined before selecting or using a particular method to study a social process.


Champion, Dean J. (1981) Basic statistics for social research / Dean J. Champion. 2nd ed. New York: Macmillan; London: Macmillan Necklace

Papers For You (2006) “P / B / 685. Qualitative Research Methods”, available at [22/06/2006]

Papers For You (2006) “C / B / 397. Critically Evaluate and Compare the Strengths and Limitations of Qualitative and Quantitative Research Methods. Use Concrete Examples to Support Your Arguments”, available at [21/06/2006]

Strauss, Anselm L. (1990) Foundations of qualitative research: grounded theory procedures and techniques / Anselm Strauss and Juliet Corbin. Newbury Park, California: Sage Publications,

Simon, Julian Lincoln. (1985) Basic research methods in social sciences / Julian Simon, Paul Burstein 3rd ed. McGraw-Hill,