Qualitative vs Quantitative approaches

A qualitative approach to research is based on non-statistical techniques, such as narrative analysis. The qualitative research methodology is applied when the nature of the research problem contains an understanding of intangible elements like attitudes, values, perceptions, satisfaction levels etc. The approach of qualitative analysis proceeds mostly by collecting data through participant observation, in depth interviews, etc. The research strategies that generally come under qualitative analysis includes case studies, focus group study, ethnographic study etc. 

Qualitative analysis complies with an interpretivist research philosophy and an inductive research approach. The data collected from qualitative analysis is subjective in nature where the data collected represent the opinions or insights of people about a particular idea (Peter, 2006). The data collection methods involved in qualitative analysis are flexible and loosely structured.

Moreover, qualitative data collection methods enable for further investigation as the questionnaires used in the collection of qualitative data analysis are in-depth or semi structured.. Qualitative analysis is a time consuming process. The researcher needs to ensure that he/she do not involves themselves emotionally in order to reduce  bias due to the closeness of the researcher to the respondents. Qualitative analysis proceeds in the direction of exploring a phenomena rather than testing a hypothesis.

            Quantitative methods employ statistical techniques to measure or quantify the data in order to establish certain causal relationships between the variables identified in the research problem. The variables are identified and quantified to establish relationships in the quantitative analysis. Quantitative analysis complies with a positivist research philosophy and deductive research approach.

Quantitative data are used in testing the hypothesis using various statistical tests like t-tests, chi-square tests, F-tests etc. The data collection process is more rigid and highly structured. The quantitative analysis seeks objective opinions in the form of surveys involving structured questionnaires with close ended questions. The results obtained from the conduct of research through quantitative techniques can be directly collated to test the hypothesis. Quantitative research is generally conducted by employing large samples. The common measures involved in quantitative analysis constitute mean, median, standard deviation, correlation etc. These are helpful in establishing the relationships between the variables.

       In this dissertation a qualitative analysis is used as the nature of the research problem calls for an investigative approach which is informed by an interpretivist philosophy and an inductive approach. As the research is performed in Sainsbury, the research strategy is a case study. The case study is undertaken to gather the opinions of the participants through semi-structured interviews by circulating semi structured questionnaires.

As the research is conducted to gather information about the issues like the satisfaction levels of customers with the local employees, measures employed by the management to improve the communication efficiency of local students working as part time employees, it is rational to apply a qualitative analysis which revolves around an exploratory study taking the note of observations and insights. This data gathered through qualitative techniques is collated to answer the identified research questions and thereby analysed to answer the research problem.