Disciplines that directly or indirectly study the human psychology, such as anthropology, sociology, criminology, and psychology, face the problem that the studied objects are not directly observable (and often are not natural kinds3). The methods with which the indirect observations that are used instead are collected can be divided into two types: quantitative and qualitative methods.
Quantitative methods are comparable to most measurement instruments, and aim to map unobservable variables unto a quantitative scale. The means through which this occurs is called operationalization of those variables, and without a valid operationalization, quantitative methods cannot be applied. Qualitative methods do not require such quantification. This is simultaneously a strength and a weakness.
Explain plus link to Eiko’s commentary.↩︎