Understanding Business Research Terms and Concepts Number

UnderstandingBusiness Research Terms and Concepts


UnderstandingBusiness Research Terms and Concepts

Incarrying out any business research one must decide on whether to usethe qualitative or quantitative designs and in some cases combine thetwo. The aim of research defines the most appropriate method to useas different designs yield different results. It is thereforeimportant to have a clear understanding of these designs and theirrespective domains, to ensure effective business research.

Quantitativeversus Qualitative Research

Quantitativeresearch involves data that can be in numerical form and which cansubsequently be ranked or measured. This data can then be representedin graphs and tables before analysis (Gall, Gall, &amp Borg, 2006).A good example of quantitative research is an experiment as itinvolves concise measurements of different items. In business,quantitative data can be applied to establish market size anddemographics. However, it is difficult to read and understandquantitative findings and one may requires an analyst.

Onthe other hand, qualitative research is descriptive in nature, seeksto have an in-depth understanding of the underlying motives behinddifferent behavior, and hence is broader in terms of scope hence isrich in context. Open-ended questionnaires, interviews, and groupdiscussions are good examples of data collection when carrying outqualitative research (Gall, Gall, &amp Borg, 2006). User preferencesand patterns in business can be established by using qualitativeresearch. Qualitative research is, however criticized for being vagueand not producing convincing or precise evidence.

Similaritiesand differences

Theprimary fact that quantitative and qualitative methods are used asresearch tools to make them similar. In addition, quantitative andqualitative research can both be employed to study the samephenomenon. For example, in a business research seeking to find outthe effect of ranking in institutions, qualitative research finds outthe effectiveness of ranking relates to employee esteem whilequantitative research deals with the financial aspect. Anothersimilarity lies in weaknesses, in that both research designs haveconstraints, for example time and finances.

Thedifferences between qualitative and quantitative research methods aremainly based on data collected given the contrast in the aims of theresearch. While quantitative data collection involves measurement,qualitative research uses participatory means, including interviewsand discussions. The main aim of qualitative research is tounderstand human behavior under different circumstances whilequantitative research aims at acquiring irrefutable facts.Classification of data is also more difficult for qualitativeresearch given its broad spectrum of findings, unlike quantitativeresearch, which can be ranked and grouped with ease. However,quantitative analysis requires one to apply statistical expertise inanalyzing raw data while qualitative findings are relatively easy tocomprehend. For ease of recording, ‘however’, qualitative datacan be coded into quantitative data.


Theuse of both qualitative and quantitative research methods has provento be effective and has been advocated for in recent times. In mostbusiness researches, quantitative and qualitative research methodscomplement each other (Creswell, 2003). Qualitative researchidentifies the factors affecting the topic of interest whilequantitative research helps in predicting patterns by statisticalanalysis. For example, in establishing the market structure of amobile device, qualitative research answers the question ‘why’the different individuals use these devices while quantitativeresearch finds out the numeric in order to predict future patterns ofconsumption.


Quantitativeand qualitative research methods in most cases reinforce each other.In business, it is important to understand the motive of yourparticular research in order to identify which method best suits thetopic under investigation. Additionally, it is essential to identifywhether or not to use either each exclusively or in combination basedalso on desired results. Therefore, both quantitative and qualitativeresearch methods are equally important.


Creswell,J. W. (2003). ResearchDesign: Qualitative, Quantitative and Mixed Approaches.

California:SAGE Publications, Inc.

Gall,M. D., Gall, J. P., &amp Borg, W. R. (2006). EducationalResearch: An Introduction(8th

ed.).Boston: Pearson.