Social Question

higherground's avatar

Quality vs. quantity - which one will you choose?

Asked by higherground (1148points) November 4th, 2009

Sorry if this question is really vague.
Let me just give a few examples -

(Example #1)
A class is supposed to write an essay on a certain topic – student A writes an essay containing over 10,000 words and it has contents that can be considered as reasonably good while student B writes an essay of 5,000 words of the same standard, or even better.

Which one will you give credit to? Student A who may not be as inept as student B but does put in extra effort to do well; or student B who is definitely more outstanding in terms of academic work? (Note: that does not mean that student B did not put in any effort.)

(Example #2)
Quality time spent with loved ones VS plenty of time spent with loved ones but lacking of quality (does not mean that no effort is put in).

Will you prefer that you get to spend quality time or to have plenty of time with your loved ones? Do you think that less time spent with someone, means that they don’t love you as much?

(Example #3)
I’ve also heard about ‘less is more’, does that mean that quantity don’t matter that much anymore? Does that mean that we focus on quality and forgo quantity? Does it mean that quality shows more of something/someone as compared to quantity?

And why do you think so? Let’s discuss! (=

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12 Answers

Dr_C's avatar

Always quality

jackm's avatar

It most certainly depends on the situation.

higherground's avatar

@jackm Yes definitely. I feel that life is pretty much balanced in all aspects. And definitely no right or wrong answer to it, just a matter of opinion (=

PandoraBoxx's avatar

In the first two examples, “quality” is relative. Who decides what is quality? In the first, the writer cannot determine if his effort is a quality piece, only the instructor can make that determination. The reason for assigning 10,000 words may have nothing to do with covering the subject, but may be intended to teach researching skills.

In the second example, only the family can determine what “quality” time is. I am happiest just hearing my grown children’s voices in my house. I could care less about going out with them or doing “events”. I just want my house noises. It turns my house back into a home. The silence is very lonely.

Your third example is not an example at all.

higherground's avatar

@PandoraBoxx Sorry if the third example wasn’t clear . I placed that as an example because I am currently studying in an art school and the rule of ‘less is more’ is constantly reminded by the lecturers. Does it mean that if we do not put in more ‘stuff’ into our works, it is not considered as art or for that matter, good art? I know this is subjective and there is no right answer for it, just wanted to get opinions. (=

KatawaGrey's avatar

I agree with @PandoraBoxx. Quality is a hard thing to determine. In the first example, I would say that the second student should get just as good a grade as the first student unless the work is actually better. I have had many times where I have written three good pages of an essay and had to write two pages of crap because the assignment called for five pages. In the second example, I feel as if any time spent with loved ones is high quality time. When I visited my very best friend in England for two weeks, we spent a lot of time just sitting around doing nothing. I considered those high quality times because I barely get to see him and it was nice to just relax with him. The same is true of time spent with my boyfriend. A good portion of our time together is spent trying to figure out what to do, but it is still time well-spent. I would much rather spend two hours doing nothing with him and four doing something than simply the four doing something. I have class now but I will come back and answer more thoroughly. I like this question!

hug_of_war's avatar

It highly dependss on the circumstances. I feel if a teacher says it has to be X words long, then going under it means you aren’t meeting one of his or her criteria for quality even if it’s meeting yours.

But you know, it’s circumstantial. Let’s say I want to make a big breakfast that will take 30 minutes to prepare but I’m in a rush. Then I will prefer to eat a bowl of cereal, because even though the quality is way lower, the circumstances make quantity of preparation and eating time more important than quality

jsammons's avatar

I think that quality is always most important. I wouldn’t want to rush constantly and go with lower standards. If student B can write what student a did or write their essay even better, then I definiatly think student B deserves an equal or better grade. Who’s to say that half of student As essay wasn’t just useless filler? I also think that the quality of spending time with loved ones is important. That doesn’t mean that sitting around with one another isn’t quality, it’s the laughs and fun that we have that’s important, even if that’s while we’re sitting around.

PandoraBoxx's avatar

In the example of artwork, there is a tendency to want to throw a lot of techniques into a single piece, falling prey wanting put a lot of elements or concepts that work independently into a single piece. The result is crap. It’s also in part a function of lack of effort, perhaps masquerading as “time constraint”. There is nothing wrong with turning in multiple versions of the same assignment, using multiple techniques or taking a technique and bending it into something unique. Creativity is not a single thing, and therefore with art assignments, there is no “right answer” but a “most appropriate answer in context of the assignment.”

As I writing this, I am thinking of how many times I’ve been in on creative presentations where the writer and the designer get it into their head that they’ve got the answer, and they charge off in a single direction, showing only one creative approach. They either end up not getting the account, or having to rework and rework the creative. Usually, no one is happy with the result. Either way, you end up putting in the time. In the case of new business pitches, what lands the account is not flashy or gimmicky, but good, solid design.

mattbrowne's avatar

Depends. Quality does not always matter. Let’s take carbon emissions as an example. At the end of the day it will be about quantity to avert a too dramatic climate change. In this context quality would mean that people on Earth has to change their life styles. Innovation would work fast enough. I think that’s unrealistic. We also need to worry about quantity.

proXXi's avatar

There’s criteria other than quality?

LostInParadise's avatar

There is usually a trade-off between a small amount of high quality and a large amount of lower quality. If overall effectiveness was simply the product of quality and quantity then it would not make a difference. In the real world, things are seldom linear. The optimum is going to be a compromise between the two extremes.

One thing that must be considered is the existence of lower and upper thresholds. To take the case of child care. Let’s suppose there is some minimum quality of care required. Then any amount below this level of quality is useless. On the other hand there may be an upper level to the effectiveness of quality. Then going above this level does not improve things.

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