Wednesday, June 06, 2012

The difference between quantitative and qualitative research

Forever there seems to be a debate about the two and I am gob smacked by having a discussion with a positivist who seemed to think there is but one scientific method. So here's a provocation on how different the realities might be.

Here's one consideration of global warming demonstrated through the use of people's lived experiences as data as well as a visual ethnographic provocation to thoughtfulness.

It's an idiosyncratic representation.

In contrast here's how it is represented by the more positivist quantitative researchers:
This article points to the multiple research centres and claims "all" show that the Global surface temperature increased by 0.74 ± 0.18 °C (1.33 ± 0.32 °F) during the 100 years ending in 2005. Most conspicuously, according to the latest IPCC report the global surface temperature will likely to rise a further 1.1 to 6.4 °C (2.0 to 11.5 °F) during the twenty-first century.

Whose data is then backed up by multiple references to all the scientists of numerous countries, where repeated data provides validation. See

This cheeky little posting is not to be taken too seriously.
Global warming might be.


  1. This does bring up a point. For some people, the first representation has much more impact (makes more sense) than the second. Imagine what the audiences would be for each. Can you imagine giving a presentation to the World Bank using the first graphic?

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