So much of qualitative research depends on what people have to say. After all, we come to understand people by listening to them, watching them interact, and thinking about the meaning beyond, beneath, and around the words. No matter what approach you take or what group you study or what topic you consider, you will gather some information that is represented by what your respondents tell you. This might be supplemented with pictures, observations, artifacts, videos, or notes, but you cannot get away from the fact that to learn about people you have to listen to them.
–Qualitative Research in Education: Marilyn Lichtman
While defining quantitative and qualitative research based on their uses and purposes may be considered a practical approach for researcher, the difference actually lies on their roots: Quality and quantity. Procedures, designs, concepts, purposes and uses emanate from there. Example on qualitative research referring to quality where problems are answered without generally focusing on quantity, are descriptions (in words) coming form interviews, discussions or observations. However when words are translated to quantity in order to describe or to generalize, then the research is now called quantitative research. The bottom lines are the questions: “What is/are ” for quality and” how much/many” for quantity.