What are Research Methods?


Qualitative, Quantitative, and Mixed Methods: Choosing the Right Approach for Your Research

Research methods consist of different approaches to generate and analyze scientific knowledge. Researchers use three main research methods to answer their research questions and test their hypotheses: qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods.

Although each method has its own advantages and disadvantages, the researcher should start by choosing the method that best suits his/her research topic. Let us briefly discuss these three methods.

1. Qualitative Research Methods

Qualitative research aims to understand participants in depth by focusing on their personal experiences, thoughts and feelings. This method usually works with smaller sample groups and aims to obtain detailed and content-rich data through open-ended questions.

Qualitative research is used as an umbrella term and includes different methods. For this reason, qualitative research itself is not a data collection technique, but can be defined as methods that can use and analyze different data collection techniques.

The data collection techniques on which the methods are based can be handled under 3 main headings: observation technique, focus group technique and interview technique.


  • It allows the researcher to obtain in-depth information.
  • It allows the participants to understand the phenomena in their own language.
  • Its flexible structure allows the researcher to change the direction of the research in the process.
  • It allows for analysis with a smaller data load.


  • It can be difficult to draw general conclusions from scattered and subjective data.
  • Analyzing the data can take a long time and is complex.
  • May involve subjective interpretations.

2. Quantitative Research Methods

Quantitative research tests hypotheses by collecting numerical data and conducting statistical analysis. This method is usually applied on larger sample groups and aims to obtain more objective, measurable data.

Quantitative research is the name given to expressing the data to be obtained in numbers during or after collection and conducting the research process on these data. Data can be collected through information forms and questionnaires in online or offline environments.


  • Generalizations can be made over large samples.
  • Data is more objective and measurable.
  • Analysis and results are more reliable.


  • Limited in understanding the personal views of participants.
  • Questionnaires and tests do not accurately reflect the feelings and experiences of participants.
  • Data collection processes are both costly and time consuming.

3. Mixed Methods

Mixed research methods are a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods. This approach provides a more comprehensive analysis by combining the advantages of both methods.

Although combining two different methods provides the researcher with a more comprehensive and broad perspective, it is a method that is difficult to be preferred due to budget and time constraints.


  • Both quantitative and in-depth data can be obtained.
  • It has a more comprehensive and holistic understanding.
  • Increases the validity and reliability of research findings.


  • The research process is more complex and time consuming.
  • Integration of different methods may create difficulties for the researcher.
  • Requires more resources and specialized knowledge for the analysis process.


Researchers use qualitative, quantitative and mixed methods to find the most appropriate answers to their research questions. Qualitative methods provide in-depth and rich data, while quantitative methods can provide quantitative and more objective data.

Mixed methods combine the advantages of both approaches, allowing for a more detailed analysis. Choosing the right method according to the purpose and scope of the research will increase the quality and reliability of the findings.

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