Research theorists have described various differences existing between quantitative and qualitative research design as having historic background. Similarities and differences have been identified in techniques and concepts used in both designs (Crowe, 2010). As for the differences existing between the two research designs, they could be explained based on four areas: research methodology, context and values, data collection and analysis as well as nature of participants (Crowe, 2010).
Main differences between quantitative and qualitative research design
The first major area of difference is connected with the nature of the research methodology applied. In this case, research methodology can be defined as the overall philosophy used in describing the research. In particular, such concepts as realism or idealism, positivism, causality, and interpretation are taken into consideration while choosing between quantitative and qualitative research types. As such, realism could be considered more appropriate to describe concepts within quantitative research, while idealism is best used in qualitative research design (Crowe, 2010).
Following the topic, other differences relate to causality and interpretation concepts. Within this category, qualitative research focuses on the nature of interpretation surrounding construction within social reality (Crowe, 2010). The same can be put into practice to depict the cultural meaning of phenomena experienced by participants. Quantitative research, on the other hand, can be strengthened with the help of causality. Despite such descriptions, both quantitative and qualitative research types require explicit judgment for the purposes of extracting meaning based on result interpretation (Crowe, 2010).
Additionally, it can be stated that another set of differences revolves around context, values, and involvement. A researcher is considered more active in conducting a qualitative research process, contrary to quantitative research. The latter one is carried out under an independent environment while qualitative research closely relates to societal and cultural values (Crowe, 2010). It is worth noting that another difference is derived from the data, analysis, and nature of participants involved in the study. In this case, words are used as data in qualitative research, i.e. explanations are analyzed thematically with only a few participants. While in quantitative research, numbers are placed in the center of the analysis, and statistical data covers a lot of participants (Crowe, 2010). From the above descriptions, it can be clearly viewed that both research designs have strengths and weaknesses (Crowe, 2010).
Functions and importance of the Institutional Review Board (IRB)
Institutional Review Board (IRB) is a body involved in protecting various human research subjects. It is endowed with responsibility of conducting initial and continuing review on various research studies surrounding human environments. They are concerned with the initial research plans to ensure that subjects are provided with enough opportunity and safe environment for their activities (Department of Health and Human Services, 1995). In addition, IRB work hard to guarantee that any approved research reflects high healthy standards and protection of human interests. In the next place, the process of continuous review arranges a good basis since it serves as a key safety area within different environmental set-ups. The reason for that lies in the fact that marketplace pressures have increasingly affected the environment hence created some loopholes which at times provide potential sources of risk to the research subjects, i.e. humans (Department of Health and Human Services, 1995).
Initial review ensures that any form of anticipated risk is warranted in relation to the stipulated benefits as stated in the informed consent documents. Institutional Review Board suggest means through which various vulnerabilities are identified and addressed (Department of Health and Human Services, 1995).
Crowe, M.S. (2010). Qualitative and quantitative research designs are more similar than Different. The Internet Journal of Allied Health Sciences and Practice, 4(8), pp. 1‑15.
Department of Health and Human Services (1995). Investigational Devices: Four Case Studies (OEI-05-94-00100). Web.