Qualitative vs Quantitative Research in Technology Education

Hoepfl, M.C. (1997). Choosing Qualitative Research: A Primer for Technology Education Researchers. Journal of Technology Education,9(1), 47-63.


This article presents an overview of qualitative methodologies with a comparison to quantitative methodologies, particularly in the field of technology education. Various strategies for design, data collection, and sampling are introduced. Attention is given to analyzing qualitative data and judging its overall trustworthiness.

The author identifies features of qualitative research in order to promote its use for consideration. Details are given to illustrate the strategies used in the design of a qualitative study, as well as defining purposeful sampling. The collection and analysis of data are thoroughly explored, including methods and a look at possible errors that may occur. A discussion on judging qualitative research is presented in comparison with quantitative, including the credibility, transferability, dependability, and confirmability of a study.

When considering research in the field of technology education, qualitative methodologies are not without merit. The many factors that influence teaching and learning need a more wholistic approach to study them. Using observation, interview, and survey aide in understanding cognitive processes and how they affect outcomes. Although this is a method to be strongly considered, a research method should be chosen only after the research question has been carefully formed in order utilize the most appropriate approach.


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