Skip to Main Content

Communication & Media Studies Research Guide

Qualitative v. Quantitative Methods

Researchers use different types of methodologies based on their research question, or area of study. How can you tell what kind of methodology they've chosen?

Qualitative Methods Quantitative Methods

Methods include focus groups, in-depth interviews, reviews of documents or literature themes, and observations

Surveys, controlled experiments,  and reviews of records or documents for numeric information
More subjective: describes a problem or condition from the point of view of those experiencing it More objective: provides observed effects (interpreted by researchers) of a program on a problem or condition 
Text-based  Number-based 
More in-depth information on a few cases  Less in-depth but more breadth of information across a large number of cases 
No (or few) statistical tests  Statistical tests are used for analysis
Less generalizable  More generalizable


Use this chart to help organize your work (used in K. Brown's Comm 390 course)

Additional resources: