Quantitative and Qualitative Classroom Research—Friendship or War?

  • Hanna KomorowskaEmail author
Part of the Second Language Learning and Teaching book series (SLLT)


Qualitative research is often presented in contrast to quantitative methodologies as an option which makes it possible to avoid pitfalls and shortcomings of the latter, yet often enough is itself attacked for a lack of scientific discipline. Placing quantitative and qualitative research on opposite sides of the barricade was understandably needed in the times of criticism directed against neo-positivist thinking, yet it does not seem particularly fruitful any more, especially in classroom research. In order to decide if reconciliation seems to be a more useful option here, we need to look at those paradigms in their radically opposite forms and identify reasons for frequent tendencies to dichotomize them. In the first part of the present text, historical processes taking place since the launch of the first ethnographic research projects are analyzed, through the development of quantitative methodologies, the birth of the grounded theory and the conflict between paradigms up to the present paradigm shift. In the second part, research paradigms in applied linguistics and language teaching are discussed with emphasis on examples of early qualitative and mixed research types. In the final part, the frequently overlooked similarity of research aims and procedures in the fields of education and applied linguistics is presented, the use of combined approaches is advocated, and their implications for teacher education are discussed. Promising heuristic paths for the future are also sought.


Qualitative Approach Language Education Classroom Research Intercultural Competence Classroom Language 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.SWPS University of Social Sciences and HumanitiesWarsawPoland

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