Qualitative VS Quantitative Research

Which might be the best approach if you want to get accurate data from your research?

AP PHOTO/PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS

You’re likely to get the wrong answer from your interviewee if you carried out quantitative research, reason is because many people underreport embarrassing behaviors, and likely will do the same in a survey. People want to be perceived as good people, this is why they will do everything unconsciously to protect the ego of whoever is on the other side. It is social desirability bias.

A bunch of articles has provided evidence to how surveys can fall victim to this bias.

If you asked these questions in research;

  • Have you ever cheated on your partner?
  • Did you graduate from college?
  • Are you attracted to men or women?

People will likely lie to present themselves as a good person or to protect data they feel society won’t accept, perhaps people lie about most things. They lie to themselves. And, there’s no reason why they would not lie in surveys. It might not be an obvious act to them that they’re lying, it’s more of social desirability bias, trying to protect one ego without knowing you’re doing so, in return to be perceived as kind. And this is why you should focus your research more on qualitative, which often has to do with observation and behavioral studies.

Humans have this odd habit of lying to themselves. Lying to oneself may explain why so many people say they are above average. If you look around you? People will do something different from what they’re preaching. Examples are average designers putting themselves in the senior categories even though they haven’t yet understood the craft to that level. A higher percentage of college professors think and say they do above-average work, I believe we can see the results ourselves in real life without having to write a full article about it. If we are deluding ourselves this way, why should we expect people to be honest in a survey just because we are not present?

I am not saying you shouldn’t conduct quantitative research, but back it up with real-world artifacts to enrich your data. Base your research on qualitative data which has a lot to do with observations.

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Ismail Ahmad

Ismail Ahmad

UX Designer. Occasional Design Consultant. Book me here superpeer.com/ismxil