In conducting research, there is a variety of ways to do it. However, research, especially social research can be split into two categories:
QUALITATIVE research is usually more dependent on words, and is based more on answering questions than asking them. In-depth interviews, content analysis, and focus groups are a few examples of ways qualitative research is conducted.
QUANTITATIVE research has a more numerical base, and asks questions that can be answered with numbers.
Qualitative research has many advantages, a few of which are that it produces more in-depth information, and uses the participant’s observations to describe the background, or setting of the data when it was collected.
However, qualitative research also has many disadvantages, especially when it comes to eliminating researcher bias. When gathering the information, it has to be done through in-depth processes, which makes the content gathered very subjective.
Quantitative research is much easier to gather large quantities of data with, and is easier to generalize. Quantitative research is also easier to duplicate, giving more credibility to the work, and provides options for expansion.
Some of the disadvantages for quantitative research are that the research can be too abstract, and the context of the study can be ignored.
Something important to remember is that all qualitative research can be turned into quantitative data during the coding process, and assigning qualitative variables a value.
Both qualitative and quantitative research can be used while gathering data in regards to social media. Qualitative research can be especially helpful when deciding what types of content to put on various social media outlets. Quantitative research would be very useful when trying to figure out the impact social media efforts are making on the target audiences.
Social media can also be used to conduct research for qualitative research. Social media outlets such as facebook conduct surveys to gather research all the time. Many times they utilize the information gathered by cookies to personalize the data to the individual.