There is a different way of dividing research than already mentioned in my previous posts. It is a division into full and partial research. This division concerns the cognitive scope, i.e. the scope of getting to know a specific fragment of reality, and is presented in a simplified form as follows:

Full and partial research

The research can be called “full” if it covers both the scope of the studied phenomena and its complexity. If, on the other hand, it focuses on only one aspect, it is partial research.

In research practice, you can most often come across partial research – these are qualitative (IDI interviews, focus research) or quantitative research. This is determined, apart from the approach adopted by the researcher, by two things: the time and costs of the entire undertaking. However, it is worth learning more about the advantages of full research and taking a closer look at it.

Ways of full research execution

The execution of such a project can be carried out in two ways. The first would be to conduct qualitative and quantitative research simultaneously. Qualitative data in this approach is usually used as a deepening complement to quantitative data. This is true both when we use it as illustrations and when we use them to create new variables.

The second way is to implement such a project in two phases. The first is qualitative research, the second – is quantitative. With this approach, it is assumed that qualitative research has two functions. On the one hand, it is substantive preliminary research. It provides the researcher with the necessary understanding of the layer of reality covered by the research. For example, it brings the necessary information that is the basis for formulating hypotheses or facilitates the formulation of closed questions (containing ready-made variants of answers) in quantitative research. The basis for creating such questions is the analysis of the respondents’ statements in the qualitative research, which enables the preparation of such variants. Thus, they become more readable to respondents in quantitative research. Therefore, such a study is called a reconnaissance or research exploration. It anchors empirically, also from the linguistic point of view, the next phase of research (quantitative research).

The second function, similarly to the first approach, is performed by providing information facilitating the interpretation of quantitative data. We can refer to the in-depth statements of the respondents, which may justify the formulated hypotheses.

Pros and cons of described approaches

Each of the approaches to the implementation of the full research has, of course, its pros and cons. The advantage of the first is the time of its implementation (it’s shorter), while the advantage of the second is that the implementation of the qualitative research in the first stage facilitates the construction of a research tool needed for the quantitative phase.

We always try to recommend a longer, but in our opinion, more optimal research process – i.e. a sequence of events in which we conduct qualitative research first and quantitative research second. We believe that this method of implementation gives much better results, allowing us to optimize the second tool by analyzing the results from the first.