By Sandra Bauman & Mary Aviles
It’s football playoff time again, but (sob!) none of our teams are still in the hunt. Sandra’s Chicago Bears and Mary’s Michigan Wolverines are out of action until the fall. But, the idea of playoffs got us thinking about a question clients (STILL!) ask us all the time: what’s better, qualitative or quantitative research?
We think of it like this:
If your research project were a football game, the quantitative part is the statistics. It’s yards rushing, number of turnovers, the down and yards to go, the play-by-play information and (of course) the score.
The qualitative part is the color commentary. It’s the context and the back story. Who’s playing injured? What rivalries are in play? What kind of strategies do the coaches prefer and how do the teams match up? And, according to Wikipedia, this color commentary often includes “anecdotes and light humor.” It’s the threadÂ that links the stats and plays together.
To really experience the game you need that holistic view. You need the statistics and the play-by-play, but you also need the color commentary to fill in the context and provide perspective. How dull it would be to watch game with only the quant? Â And, with only the qual, you’d never know who wins the game!
So, where are you placing your research bets for 2016?