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Qualitative VS. Quantitative Research: How To Use Appropriately and Depict Research Results

What is qualitative and quantitative research? 

Before a researcher begins their research, they would need to establish whether their research results will be quantitative or qualitative. 

Qualitative research observes any subjective matter that can’t be measured with numbers or units, usually answering the questions “how” or “why”. This type of data is usually derived from exploratory sources like, journal entries, semi-structured interviews, videos, and photographs.

On the other hand, quantitative research is numeric and objective, which usually answers the questions “when” or “where”. This data is derived from controlled environments like surveys, structured interviews, and traditional experimental designs. Quantitative data is meant to find objective information.

What are the main differences between qualitative and quantitative research?

The main factor of differentiation between qualitative and quantitative data are the sources that the data is gathered from, as this effects the format of the results. 

Sources of Qualitative DataSources of Quantitative Data
Participants’ recollection of eventsPolls, surveys and experiments
Focus groupsDatabases of records and information
Observing ethnographic studiesAnalysis of other research to identify patterns
Semi-structured interviewsQuestionnaires with close-ended questions
Questionnaires with open-ended questionsStructured Interviews

When to use qualitative and quantitative research? 

When conducting a study, knowing how the results will be depicted drive the methodology and overall approach to the study. To understand whether qualitative or quantitative research results are best suited for your current project, we take a deeper dive at the several advantages and disadvantages of each. 

  1. Qualitative research


  • Allows researchers to understand “human experience” that cannot be quantified
  • Has fewer limitations, out-of-the-box answers, opinions and beliefs are included in data gathering and analysis
  • Researchers can utilise personal instinct and subjective experience to identify and extract information
  • Easier to derive and conduct as researchers can adapt to any changes to optimise results 


  • Responses can be biased, as participants may opt for answers that are desirable. 
  • Qualitative studies usually have small sample sizes, this impacts the reliability of the study as it cannot be generalised to certain demographics.
  • Researchers and other’s who read the study can have interpretation bias as the information is subjective and open to interpretation
  1. Quantitative research


  • Usually observes a large sample, ensuring a broad percentage is taken into consideration and reflected
  • Produces precise results that can be widely interpreted
  • Minimises any research bias through the collection and representation of objective information
  • Data driven research method that depicts effectiveness, comparisons and further analysis.


  • Does not derive “meaningful” and in-depth responses, only precise figures are included in findings
  • Quantitative studies are expensive to conduct as they require a large sample 
  • When designing a quantitative study, it is important to pay extra attention to all factors within the study, as a small fault can largely impact all results.

How to effectively analyse qualitative and quantitative data?

Since the data collection method for qualitative and quantitative studies are different, so is the analysis and organisation of the gathered information. In this section, we dive into a step-by-step guide to effectively analyse both types of data and information to derive accurate findings and results. 

Analysing qualitative data

  1. Types of qualitative data analysis
Content analysisIdentifies patterns derived from text. This is done by categorising information into themes, concepts and keywords.
Narrative analysisObserves the manner in which people tell stories and the specific language they use to describe their narrative experience.
Discourse analysisUsed to understand political, cultural and power dynamics. This methos specifically focuses on the manner in which individuals express themselves in social contexts.
Thematic analysisThis method is used to understand the meaning behind the words participants use. This can be deduced by observing repeated themes in text.
Grounded theoryMostly used when very little information is known about a case or phenomenon. The grounded theory is an “origin” theory and other cases and experiences are examined in comparison to the grounded theory.
  1. Steps to analyse qualitative data
  1. Once your data has been collected, it is important to code and categorise the information to easily identify the source. 
  2. After organising the information, you will need to correlate the information logically and derive valuable insights.
  3. Once the correlations are solid, you will need to choose how to depict the information. In qualitative data, researchers usually provide transcripts from interviews and visual evidence from various sources. 

Analysing quantitative data

  1. Types of quantitative data analysis
Descriptive analysisThis method focuses on summarising the collected data and describing its attributes. This is when mean, median, mode, frequency or distribution is calculated.
Inferential analysisThis method allows researchers to draw conclusions from the gathered statistics. It allows researchers to analyse the relationship between variables and make predictions; this includes cross-tabulation, t-tests and factor analysis. 
  1. Steps to analyse quantitative data
  1. Once the data has been collected, you will need to “clean” the data. This essentially means that you’ll need to observe any duplications, errors or omissions and remove them. This ensures the data is accurate and clear before analysis. 
  2. You will now need to decide whether you will analyse the data using descriptive or inferential analysis, depending on the gathered data set and the findings you’d like to depict.
  3. Now, you’ll need to visualise the data using charts and graphs to easily communicate the information in your research paper. 

Conduct your research on Zendy todayThis blog thoroughly covered qualitative and quantitative data and took you through how to analyse, depict and utilise each type appropriately. Continue your research into different types of studies on Zendy today, search and read through millions of studies, research and experiments now.

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A step-by-step guide to writing a research paper outline

A research outline guides the flow of the research paper, it is meant to ensure that the ideas, concepts and points are coherent and that the study and research has a well-defined point of focus. The outline sets guidelines for each section of the research paper, what it will address, explore and highlight. Working on a research paper outline is considered an important preliminary activity that improves the structure of the research paper, this is critical for categorising collected data. Think of it as a brainstorm session for your research paper that also implements effective time management.

Understanding research paper outline

A research paper ideally consists of 5 sections; abstract, introduction, body, conclusion and references. Each of these sections contributes to collating key information on the research design, in this section of the blog we dive into the purpose or each section.

AbstractThe abstract sits on the first page of the research paper. It’s main purpose is to provide a brief overview of the paper by highlighting key findings, describing methodology, and summarising conclusive points.
IntroductionThe introduction is crucial as it presents the research question, states the objectives or hypotheses, and outlines the scope and structure of the paper. 
BodyThe body of the research paper is where the content is discussed and highlighted. It can present detailed analysis, support arguments with evidence, address counterarguments and limitations, draw conclusions. 
ConclusionThe conclusion is a closing statement, it summarises the key findings, restates the aims and research question, reflects on the research process, discusses implications and contributions. 
ReferencesThe reference list is a crucial part of the paper, it ensures plagiarism is avoided, builds credibility, facilitates further reading to support claims and arguments. 

Step-by-step guide to conducting research outline

  1. Select a Topic:
    1. Choose a topic that aligns with your research requirements.
  2. Conduct Preliminary Research:
    1. Gather background information on your topic by reading through key scholarly articles, books, and credible online sources.
    2. Take notes on key ideas, findings, and arguments from reviewing the literature.
  3. Identify the Research Question or Thesis Statement:
    1. Formulate a focused research question or thesis statement that defines the purpose of your study.
  4. Create the Title:
    1. Write an informative title that accurately reflects the main topic and focus of your research paper.
  5. Write the Abstract:
    1. Summarize the objectives, methods, results, and conclusions of your research in a brief abstract.
  6. Develop the Introduction:
    1. Include background information to contextualize the research.
    2. Present the research question or thesis statement.
    3. Outline the scope and objectives of the study.
    4. Take the reader through the structure of the paper by mapping it out.
  7. Outline the Body:
    1. Organise and structure the main points and subpoints of your research.
    2. Ensure the content flows cohesively.
    3. Include supporting evidence, examples, data, or arguments.
  8. Craft the Conclusion:
    1. Summarise the key findings and insights.
    2. Highlight the thesis statement or research question.
    3. Discuss the implications of your findings and suggest methods for future research.
    4. End the conclusion by highlighting the significance of the study.
  9. Compile the References:
    1. Create a list of references following the appropriate citation style (e.g., Harvard, APA, MLA, Chicago).
    2. Ensure that all sources are accurately cited and formatted.
  10. Review and Revise:
    1. Review your research outline for coherence and clarity.
    2. Edit the outline as needed to improve organization, flow, and accuracy of information.
    3. Ensure the reference list follows the requirements of the correct format

Research outline formats

  1. Traditional outline – Where thesis statement is provided at the end of the introduction, body paragraphs support thesis with research and a conclusion is included to emphasise key concepts of research paper.
  2. Alphanumeric outline – Outline format uses letters and numbers in this order: A, I, II, III
  3. Decimal outline – This format requires each main point to be labeled with a whole number, and each sub-point 

Conduct your research on Zendy Today

As a thriving AI-powered academic research library, Zendy hosts a wide variety of academic research across various disciplines and branches of study. Draft your next or brush up your current research paper outline by skimming through the millions of credible resources Zendy offers!

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Webinar Recap: Supporting the publishing and discovery journey of young and emerging scholars in the Global South

On the 25th of April, Zendy partnered with Bristol University Press to host an insightful joint webinar titled, supporting the publishing and discovery journey of young and emerging scholars in the Global South. 

The discussion panel was moderated by the Editorial Director of Bristol University Press, Victoria Pittman and featured the President of African Gong, Elizabeth Rasekoala, the Deputy Editorial Director at Bristol University Press, Stephen Wenham and the Partnerships Relations Manager at Zendy, Sara Crowley Vigneau. 

In this blog, we summarise the contributions of each speaker to the joint webinar. 

Elizabeth Rasekoala – President of African Gong

  • Addressed key systematic issues within publishing in the Global South 
  • Academic research is predominantly published in English, which is not the first language of many in the Global South, hence publishers should be open to accepting research in different languages. 
  • Discussed the concept of “helicopter research syndrome” wherein more established researchers allocate data collection tasks to locals in the Global South and monitor their work but don’t credit them in the final academic papers 
  • Highlighted the book published by Bristol University Press titled, Race and cultural inclusion: Innovation, decolonization, and transformation. The book had a total of 30 contributing writers. 10 young scholars, 10 seasoned scholars and 10 senior scholars to facilitate emerging scholars get published. 

Stephen Wenham – Deputy Editorial Director at Bristol University Press

  • Highlighted BUP’s international reach and efforts to work with young authors
  • Bristol University Press has publications that are available globally. In the global south, BUP tries to match the books to the local market. 
  • Local distributors receive a discount and local publishers assist in localising the publications and releasing local editions of books
  • Works with sales agents to ensure publications by local authors are highlighted in relevant regions

Sara Crowley Vigneau – Partnerships Relations Manager at Zendy

  • Highlighted the relationship between publishers and libraries in advancing access in developing regions
  • Zendy supports scholars in the Global South through offering an affordable global subscription, while also working with publishers to include research generated by researchers in the Global South. 
  • Most of Zendy’s global users are aged between 18-34 and 20% of Zendy’s userbase is situated in African countries and territories. 
  • Zendy is actively working on “countries in crisis’ initiative where in Zendy works with publishers to make research content free in developing regions 

Conduct your research on Zendy

As a growing AI-powered research library, Zendy is committed to hosting webinars that address important challenges and highlight key initiatives in the world of academia. Head to Zendy’s YouTube channel now to watch all our webinar recordings. Furthermore, take your research to the next level and head to Zendy now to try out our suite of AI tools including ZAIA!