Monday, 7 April 2014

The Qual-Quant Debate

The Qual-Quant Debate
Since this is my twentieth year running Park Lane Research and my nth year as a researcher, I think I’m probably experienced enough to be allowed a view on the qualitative versus quantitative research debate.  I used to work at a place where I felt qual was under-valued and it’s made me slightly nervous about sharing these views with a wider audience.  But here you go, I’m going to do it anyway.
In the agency to which I refer, qual researchers were sometimes viewed as being akin to the awkward squad – when I wasn’t in the office, clients were told ‘oh he’s coming back from somewhere’ and that was usually when I’d worked all day and all evening, as well as travelled to some far off place to run groups.
In more recent times, I’ve been more than happy to combine quant and qual techniques within my work and have come to realise how valuable both can be in the wider scheme of things.  This is especially the case, I feel, when both can be brought together within the same project.
When it comes down to it, however, I think I’ll always be a qual researcher at heart, and here’s my ode to why I think that might be the case…
Ode to the Qual
What you need will be the quant, what you want will be the qual,
What brings knowledge will be quant, what brings understanding will be qual,
What provides a structure will be the quant, what will tell a story will be the qual,
What draws interest will be quant, what brings engagement will be qual,
What will show value is the quant, what will add value is the qual,
What informs will be the quant, what excites will be the qual,
What you’ll like is the quant, what you’ll love is the qual,
What brings pleasure will be the quant, what provides passion will be the qual.
Your choice, you decide…