Research methods are used by nonprofits in marketing, program research, and evaluation. Research methodology is usually grouped into 1)quantitative, and 2)qualitative methods.
Quantitative methods measure or count data. They attempt to answer the question: "How much?", using statistical analysis such as averages, means, percentiles, etc. Use quantitative methods for questions that involve:
- Understanding quantities or frequency.
- Determining cause-and-effect.
- Comparing different things.
- Establishing numerical baselines.
Qualitative methods use direct or indirect contact with people. They can consist of interviews, observation, or review of relevant documents. Qualitative methods can be quite rigorous and be excellent for studying processes and meanings, but they do not measure. Use qualitative methods for questions that involve:
- Understanding the feelings or opinions of people.
- To gain insight into relationships or patterns.
- To gather multiple perspectives on a particular subject or problem.
- To identify approximate, rather than exact, information.