Qualitative Versus Quantitative Research Designs


Qualitative studies differ from quantitative studies in numerous ways. For instance, qualitative studies are usually aimed at explaining issues. In this regard, it focuses on a range of ideas that talk about the same topic. For instance, the article on Military families discusses impact of military deployment on families. On the other hand, qualitative studies focus on literature review that is based on previously conducted research. This is aimed at understanding various perspectives on the same topic. This may be derived from various groups of people, as shown in the article. This exposes factors and motivates relevant opinions and decisions. It is important in setting pace for quantitative studies. Quantitative studies are usually done with a view to recommending an action plan. It focuses on numbers with the aim of achieving consensus, for instance, the effects of military deployment on their families. It also tries to establish evidence on relationship between the causes and resulting effects of such issues. In addition, it tests hypothesis on the same to establish a link. It therefore emphasizes on numbers and their interrelation with the impact. In essence, qualitative studies are usually broad, focused on the overall picture, and exploratory as opposed to quantitative studies, which are narrow, focused, and conclusive. This paper will compare and contrast qualitative studies verses quantitative studies (Crowe and Sheppard, 2010).

Compare and contrast the format of the articles describing quantitative studies versus the articles describing qualitative studies

The articles describing qualitative studies differ from those describing quantitative studies in research methodology, analysis, data, context, involvement, participants, and values. For instance, the first article on child maltreatment incidences by parent-soldiers focuses on data to establish a link between deployment and stress, which in turn contribute to child maltreatment (Gibbs, Martin, Kupper and Johnson, 2007). This is different from qualitative studies, which focus on various ideas or literature reviews with a view to arriving at a consensus and understanding. In this regard, these reviews are used to establish the impact of military deployment on children (McFarlane, 2009). It can therefore be observed that there is difference in format for qualitative and quantitative studies (Chandra, et al., 2010, p. 18). For instance, the format utilized in quantitative articles involve collection of data through conducting of actual study on a given number of families, analysis is also done using Poisson regression with the aim of establishing a link between the numbers and child maltreatment.

The same format is utilized in the second article. On the other hand, qualitative research utilizes literature to establish impact of military deployment on their families. Its design does not involve actual study but rather a review of previous studies (Faber, Willerton, Clymer, MacDermid and Weiss, 2008, p. 222). Data collection is also quite different as this involves use of qualitative tools like interviews, among others. Similarity of the two research methods is observed when it comes to sampling for groups to be studied. For instance, both set of articles chose to study deployed military personnel and their families. The process of evaluation is also similar as it involves data collection and analysis to arrive at a relationship between variables studied (McFarlane, 2009).

How is the write-up of qualitative studies the same or different from the write-up of quantitative studies?

The write up of qualitative studies differ from that of quantitative studies in a number of ways. These include methodology, which is narrow in quantitative studies but wholesome in qualitative studies. For instance, the first set of articles (quantitative) focus on the impact of deployed military parents on children while the second set of articles (qualitative) focus widely on impact of deployment on both children and their families. Another difference that is observable in the write-up is the narrowed hypothesis in quantitative research as compared to qualitative. This can be seen in the sample of the first two article which narrows only on impacts of deployment on children whereas qualitative studies focus broadly on the impact on children, possible causes, symptoms and effects on other family members. Moreover, qualitative studies give a full description of events as opposed to quantitative, which is highly focused.

How is the focus of the articles the same or different? Be sure to support your discussion with specific examples

Focus of the articles is similar on their prime objective but different on size. For instance, the prime objective of the articles on quantitative studies is to establish a link between deployment and maltreatment of children. This is also similar in qualitative studies although the latter broadens it to focus on symptoms and impact deployed the parents. For instance, it looks at the stress levels in deployed solders’ families and children. In essence, the focus is broad in qualitative studies but narrowed in quantitative studies. However, the basic goal is similar: to establish link between maltreatment of children and deployment of parents.


Qualitative studies and quantitative studies have various differences. These include design, focus, data, collection tools, and analysis. However, it is necessary to note that there are similarities in some collection tools such as the use of samples, interviews, among others. Some of the most common differences between qualitative and quantitative studies include description, hypothesis, and data gathering instruments, among others (Neuman, 2006)

Reference List

Chandra, A., et al. (2010). Children on the homefront: The experience of children from military families. Pediatrics, 125, 16-25.

Crowe, M., & Sheppard, L. (2010). Qualitative and quantitative research designs are more similar than different. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 8(4), 1.

Faber, A. J., Willerton, E., Clymer, S. R., MacDermid, S. M., & Weiss, H. M. (2008). Ambiguous absence, ambiguous presence: A qualitative study of military reserve families in wartime. Journal of Family Psychology, 22(2), 222-230.

Gibbs, D.A., Martin, S.L., Kupper, L.L., & Johnson, R.E. (2007). Child maltreatment in enlisted soldiers’ families during combat-related deployments. Journal of the American Medical Association, 298(5), 528-535.

McFarlane, A. C. (2009). Military deployment: The impact on children and family adjustment and the need for care. Current Opinion in Psychiatry, 22, 369-373.

Neuman, W. (2006). Social research methods: Qualitative and quantitative approaches. Boston, MA: Pearson.