Similarities and Differences of Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Qualitative studies aim to explore the meaning of one or another phenomenon to answer “why” questions, while quantitative studies focus on predicting possible results to address “what” questions (Polit & Beck, 2017). The paradigm of the quantitative article by Droulers et al. (2017) refers to calculating the size and measuring the impact of images on tobacco packaging. On the contrary, the qualitative study by Valera et al. (2016) seeks to understand the smoking behaviors of men and women, who were released recently from justice facilities. The similarity of these articles is that their ultimate goal is to contribute to research on smoking behaviors to reduce related threats. While both articles measure the outcomes of the collected data, they have different designs. Droulers et al. (2017) pay attention to statistics, and Valera et al. (2016) use participants’ reports based on their perceptions and attitudes. Nevertheless, both studies involve participants to collect the necessary data. In the first article, the authors use purposive sampling to gather 53 French smokers, and the second study employs flyers advertising to invite 60 eligible participants.

The methods of these studies vary, but both of them produce data to be analyzed. Psychophysiological measurement and self-reports were the methods of Droulers et al. (2017), but Valera et al. (2016) relied on semi-structured interviews for data collection. Data analysis based on NVivo 10 allowed Valera et al. (2016) to transcribe data and make conclusions. Droulers et al. (2017) chose SPSS (v.20) for this purpose, which shows that both studies used special software. As for reliability and validity issues, Valera et al. (2016) clarify that they ensured them by engaging in research and bracketing data. In turn, Droulers et al. (2017) validated results by means of statistical analysis. Both qualitative and quantitative studies tried to address smoking behaviors, and the use of different designs allowed considering this issue from different points.


Droulers, O., Gallopel-Morvan, K., Lacoste-Badie, S., & Lajante, M. (2017). The influence of threatening visual warnings on tobacco packaging: Measuring the impact of threat level, image size, and type of pack through psychophysiological and self-report methods. PLoS One, 12(9), e0184415. Web.

Polit, D. F., & Beck, C. T. (2017). Essentials of nursing research: Appraising evidence for nursing practice (9th ed.). Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

Valera, P., Bachman, L., & Rucker, A. J. (2016). A qualitative study of smoking behaviors among newly released justice-involved men and women in New York City. Health & Social Work, 41(2), 121-128. Web.