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ILP 520: Instructional Leadership and Supervision

Students in ILP 520 may use this guide for help searching and using information.

Types of Research

Click here for a tutorial on qualitative research.

Click here for a tutorial on quantitative research.

Click here for a tutorial on mixed methods research.


Qualitative, Quantitative, & Mixed Methods Research

Quantitative and qualitative research use different tools to collect and analyze data, and they allow you to answer different kinds of research questions.

Qualitative Quantitative Mixed Methods
Presented in words Expressed in numbers and graphs Uses both qualitative and quantitative data as highly complementary objects
It is used to understand concepts, thoughts or experiences.  It is used to test or confirm theories and assumptions.  Attempts to bring qualitative and quantitative research together to answer questions
Enables you to assemble in-depth insights on topics that are not well understood Can be used to establish generalizable facts about a topic Uses qualitative approach to explore a situation and develop a set of hypotheses; uses quantitative approach 
Common qualitative methods include interviews with open-ended questions, observations described in words, and literature reviews that explore concepts and theories. Common quantitative methods include experiments, observations recorded as numbers, and surveys with closed-ended questions. Common mixed methods include interviews, open-ended questions, surveys

Qualitative data collection methods include interviews, focus groups, ethnography, and literature reviews.

Quantitative data collection methods include surveys (closed or multiple choice questions distributed to a sample), experiments, and observations.


Uses a combination of data collection methods

Use qualitative research if you want to understand something (concepts, thoughts, experiences).

Use quantitative research if you want to confirm or test something (a theory or hypothesis).

Uses a quantitative approach to get a look at the bigger picture ("the What") and qualitative approach to learn about the underlying reasons ("the Why")


Decision Tree

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