Sociological Methods


Qualitative and quantitative are the two major research methods used in the study of different phenomena. The choice of the research method depends on the research question, the underlying philosophy of the research, and preferences and skills of the researcher. This paper discusses both qualitative and quantitative research methods, giving their strengths, weaknesses, and specific examples from the reading materials.

Quantitative Research Methods

  1. What is the quantitative research method?

Quantitative research according to my understanding is a research method that examines numerical data using statistical tools. In this case, the researcher converts data to numeric form by using a more general approach. However, quantitative research is not detailed. Also, structured research instruments are used in collecting data in a sample size to represent the whole population.

  1. What are the strengths and weaknesses of this method?


From my point of view, using a quantitative research method to collect data has advantages that include allowing a broader chance of study for a greater number of subjects by generalizing the results. Since the research method involves a huge randomly selected sample, the researcher generalizes the results. The analysis of data makes use of statistical software such as SPSS making it faster hence less time-consuming. Quantitative research method also gives the researcher a chance to come up with many objects, and hence accurate results. This is because the researcher gets a summary that gives a general overview of the subject under study and measures that could guarantee rationality and variability. Also, this type of research establishes standard means that can allow replication of the research, analysis, as well as comparison with other similar studies. Furthermore, individuals can avoid bias by distancing themselves from participating subjects or using computational techniques.


I also noticed some limitations to using a quantitative research method. For instance, when using this method, a researcher might miss contextual details though it is more efficient and able to test the hypothesis. The approach and process of discovery employed during the study of phenomena are rigid, static, and inflexible. This research paradigm also tends to consent the basic meaning of a group portent; hence it fails to give a deeper underlying a study. Furthermore, quantitative research does not signify how the community is shaped, maintained and the way people judge their actions and those of others. Moreover, quantitative research gives limited findings inform of numerical descriptions instead of a detailed description; hence they give limited elaboration of human perceptions.
c. Give specific examples from the readings below (see attached files) in discussing the uses of quantitative method.
The article The Work-Home Crunch illustrates the findings of a study carried out concerning a debate about working conditions in America using quantitative analysis. According to the findings, I would say that well educated well-educated professionals work for more hours when compared to less educated individuals who work for fewer hours. For example, a survey was conducted and a graphical analysis carried out on a population of workers, which showed that more than a third of male bosses and authorities now work 50 hours, or more a week. I also noticed that individuals in the country work under pressure with burdensome jobs. Single parents find themselves very occupied therefore not flexible enough to switch between home and work. For instance, the findings show that working hours have recorded an increase of about 53 to 63 hours between 1970 and 2000.

Qualitative Research

  1. What is the qualitative research method?

I think qualitative research method attempts to collect non-numeric information about the social world. In this case, the researcher cannot convert the info gathered to numeric form in any way. It is a more detailed and more specific research approach to use. Using a qualitative research method, the researcher understands the underlying reasons, motivations, and opinions of the subjects under study. I would, therefore, conclude that qualitative research is the best method to use when obtaining information, which is culturally specific because it focuses on opinions, social context, and behaviors of a specific community.

  1. b) What are the strengths and weaknesses of this method?


From my readings, the qualitative research method is important because it allows the researcher to simplify and manage data without rescinding its density and framework. They are appropriate when dealing with a question that does not need data or using data will prevent discovery. For instance, the researcher can use qualitative research method when they want to learn from participants in a way they can experience it, their meaning, and interpretation of their experience. This method allows the researchers to learn and apply integrity to their perception and intricacy of their explanations.

Using qualitative data also allows the researchers to generate new ideas and ways of seeing and interpreting existing data. For instance, if the main goal of the study is to come up with a hypothetical context that would reflect reality rather than their own perception they think it might be needed for the detecting theory in a set of data.

Also, qualitative research gives a proper response needed for research although they can be destructive rather than positive.


Despite the many advantages, I also noticed some limitations with qualitative research. Qualitative research method gives a comprehensive account with no try to give the rate of recurrence to dialectal features recognized in the data. Therefore, both rare and frequent occurrences get similar attention. Using a qualitative research method, ambiguity due to human languages tends to occur in the study. For example, the word ‘red’ signifies color or political categories. Therefore, when such occurs in the analysis, it raises a red flag. Moreover, the findings of a qualitative research method cannot be prolonged to a wider population with the same grade of uncertainty that quantitative study can because the statistical significance of qualitative data is not tested.
c) Give specific examples from the readings

Edin and Kefalas (2005) explain the results of the qualitative study done for a period of 62 years by interviewing underprivileged mothers living in poor conditions around Philadelphia and its environs. Going through the document, I came across some of the questions asked such as why did they have children while still young and not married? Did they not know that they would face such an uphill struggle to support them? The main goal of the study was to daub a picture of those women’s lives starting from the days they had their intimate relationships, through pregnancy, birth and beyond so that they may know why they frequently put motherhood before marriage.

According to the findings, Jen Burke one of the subjects of study ‘Unmarried with Children’ had a 20-year old boyfriend (Rick). Although she never wanted to get pregnant, the boyfriend wanted her to bear a child for him as soon as they met so that she will not leave him. Jen tried pushing Rick to get a real job that could solve their financial obligation at home and stop messing up because she wanted to make their relationship work. At her tender age, she desired to be in a relationship even if she knew it was wrong. According to the findings, it is evident that new parents reconciled and stayed together for the sake of their child. Women also believed that children made them complete.


In conclusion, quantitative and qualitative research methods are applied in different research studies depending with the phenomena under study. Qualitative research is used for research activities that require non-numerical data while quantitative research is used in studies that require numerical data. Quantitative research method is easier to define and identify as compared to qualitative research method.