Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

NURB 361: Introduction to Nursing Research

For Suzi White's students

Quantitative Research

What is Quantitative Research?

  • Quantitative research is a way to learn about  a sample population (or a group of people chosen from the whole). Using scientific inquiry, quantitative research relies on observed or measured data to examine questions about this sample population.
  • This type of research focuses on numbers, and is thus precise.  
  • Uses statistics


  • Typically it is to determine the relationship between two variables. 

Sample Size

  • Usually large samples
  • Often simple random probability sampling 

Types of Data

  • Tests, surveys, frequently multiple-choice questionnaires 


F. Oguz, personal communication, May 22, 2019. 

Qualitative Research

What is Qualitative Research?

  • Uses interpretive techniques to describe, decode, and translate the meaning -- not the frequency -- of certain naturally occurring phenomena.
  • Uses non-statistical techniques
  • interested in how people interpret their experiences, how they construct their worlds, and what meaning they attribute to their experiences
  • Case studies tend to be qualitative


  • To understand a phenomenon

Sample Size

  • small
  • purposeful sampling -- the investigator wants to discover, understand, and gain insight and therefore must select a sample from which the most can be learned. There is an emphasis on in-depth understanding of specific cases. 

Types of Data

  • Focus groups, interviews, field observation, historical comparison
  • mostly open-ended questions


F. Oguz, personal communication, June 10, 2019. 



Unowacademics. (2014 May 19). UniversityNow:  Quantitative vs. qualitative research [Video]. YouTube.