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Relatively qualitative data has the potential to gather abundant information towards research. According to Bryan Hill and Rebecca Paynich, the information can come in the form of a story/narrative (2014). It has to be converted into a numerical output in order to be analyzed. Qualitative research data focuses on the meanings, defining characteristics, attributes, and traits (Tewksbury, 2009). It refers to the how and why. For example, a certain community has been having an increasing amount of robbery in local stores. This approach of data would take account of the social factors that could have contributed to the rise. A qualitative design approach might be to conduct interviews of the individuals and business owners who (those that have been affected and unaffected by the events) live and work in the area. This tends to look forward to more social approaches towards data. Basic examples of this data would include transcripts of interviews or focus groups, individual perspectives, field notes, case studies, document analysis, or even observation notes.
Quantitative research offers the when, where, and how often occurrences happen. It offers an enhanced understanding compared to qualitative research (Tewksbury, 2009). It is the scientific approach towards social science data collection and is more number-oriented. The researcher would first collect crime/criminal statistics from within the area of interest. Secondary sources about the community/neighborhood would also be collected. For example unemployment levels, real estate values, and transitional rates (Paynich & Hill, 2014). The use of quantitative methods includes survey research, field research, and even evaluation research. The data is often used by criminologists and other social scientists towards making causal statements/conclusions about variables being researched.
The class book stated that qualitative is gathered by means of reports and keywords that will have to be coded for analytic purposes in order to make a comprehensive map (Paynich & Hill, 2014). The qualitative approach can consist of officers’ narrative statements or interviews with the surrounding community (Paynich & Hill, 2014). Though both qualitative quantitative data have different advantages. When a person is trying to examine why something is occurring or an incident would be more likely to occur again examining the variables in a narrative aspect would yield the most useful information (Paynich & Hill, 2014). An article mentioned “If the data coding is done appropriately, it will lead the researchers to develop patterns or themes and to make final inferences about the research problem” (Riazi et al., 2023 p.1). The class book gave an example of this by discussing a possible cause of criminal activity being researched and then discovering employment dropped due to an establishment closing (Paynich & Hill, 2014). That kind of data would be found in a narrative format (Paynich & Hill, 2014).
The quantitative data is already in numeric format and categorized making it easier access for analysts to compare (Paynich & Hill, 2014). Using quantitative data can be helpful when viewing comparisons such as year to year-to find fluctuations between different areas based on the numeric data (Paynich & Hill, 2014). The class book did say that using both methods though it would be a lot more time-consuming because of the qualitative data will still be the most successful approach if a person is trying to get the whole picture (Paynich & Hill, 2014). An article mentioned using both styles perks by stating, “Quantitative data analysis can reveal new patterns, but these are always related to the existing variables, whereas qualitative data analysis can reveal new aspects that are hidden in the data” (Schoonenboom, 2023 p.1). The numbers can be viewed to show where the problem is in comparison and the quantitative can be viewed to narrow the reason why the incidents are occurring (Paynich & Hill, 2014).