Should We Learn Both Qualitative and Quantitative Methods?

Most researchers have a stronger side: some are in love with numbers, others find their passion for texts, concepts, symbols, and interpretation. Sometimes the fondness for one and the contempt for the other is so strong that we start to ask ourselves: what if we only focus on the favourite and ignore the disliked?

It is true that you can have a good research career by focusing only on one side. There are tons of job ads supporting that statement. For example:

However, putting all your eggs in one basket would mean that you are limited. You may end up in a situation where you cannot design and execute the most suitable methodology because of your limited skills. If you aspire to become a great researcher—instead of a good researcher—this limitation is unacceptable.

In my opinion, there is only one truly great path. And my advice is to follow it.

Build your expertise in methods you are good at. Master them. However, do not completely ignore your weaker side.

Get familiar with methods that seem daunting now. Try to incorporate them into your approach to UX studies.

Triangulation (studying the same object with multiple methods) is crucial to verify that your findings are meaningful. Mixed-methods studies which involve both qualitative and quantitative research achieve more. They build on the strengths and eliminate the weaknesses of both qualitative and quantitative data. Together they answer both major questions: the what and the why.

You can have your favourites. We all do. But you will thrive as a researcher by denying yourself the comfort of being limited.

Would you like to discuss this post? Tweet or share it, tag me, and I will gladly join the discussion!

@arnasaleks on Twitter, Arnas Aleksandravičius on LinkedIn