What are examples of quantitative and qualitative changes in child development?


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The terms 'qualitative' and 'quantitative' are types of measurement, so this question concerns changes in a child development which are apparent due to those measures.

Qualitative research methods are those which are concerned with a small sample size and focus intensely on gathering very detailed information. Some examples of this are interviews and observations; these things are difficult to apply to a large number of people, but provide a wealth of data. Qualitative research is often criticized for not providing a great insight into the population at large, but their benefit is that they can deal with more complex matters than a simple questionnaire. An example of a change in a child's development seen through qualitative research would be speech. Observations by parents, followed up by interviews, can provide a detailed view of the speed at which a child is developing language ability. These methods are also good for studying things like the development of morals, which would be very hard to study quantitatively!

Quantitative research methods are the opposite. These methods are largely centered around simple practices applied to large samples. The most obvious example is the questionnaire. It requires very little, if any, face time, and can be completed by as many people as a budget will allow. The data provided is also very easy to analyze due to the fact that every answer can be assigned a value. Language can also be studied quantitatively, with parents answering questionnaires about the frequency with which a child uses a new word. Physical changes can also be measured more easily with questionnaires - a child learning to walk, for instance.

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