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Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Last Updated : 20 May, 2024
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Qualitative and Quantitative Data: Statistics is a subject that deals with the collection, analysis, and representation of collected data. The analytical data derived from methods of statistics are used in the fields of geology, psychology, forecasting, etc.

Quantitative data is numerical, countable, and measurable, providing information on how many, how much, or how often. Qualitative data, on the other hand, is descriptive, interpretative, and language-based, helping us understand the reasons, processes, or contexts behind certain behaviors.

In this article, we will discuss qualitative and quantitative data and the differences between qualitative and quantitative data as well.

What is Qualitative Data?

The data collected on grounds of categorical variables are qualitative data. Qualitative data are more descriptive and conceptual in nature. It measures the data on the basis of the type of data, collection, or category.

The data collection is based on what type of quality is given. Qualitative data is categorized into different groups based on characteristics. The data obtained from these kinds of analysis or research is used in theorization, perceptions, and developing hypothetical theories. These data are collected from texts, documents, transcripts, audio and video recordings, etc.

Examples of Qualitative Data

Examples of qualitative data include:

  • Textual responses from open-ended survey questions
  • Observational notes or fieldwork observations
  • Interview transcripts
  • Photographs or videos
  • Personal narratives or case studies

What is Quantitative Data?

The data collected on the grounds of the numerical variables are quantitative data. Quantitative data are more objective and conclusive in nature. It measures the values and is expressed in numbers. The data collection is based on “how much” is the quantity. The data in quantitative analysis is expressed in numbers so it can be counted or measured. The data is extracted from experiments, surveys, market reports, matrices, etc.

Examples of Quantitative Data

Some examples of quantitative data are:

  • Age, Height, Weight, etc.
  • Temperature
  • Income
  • Number of siblings
  • GPA
  • Test scores
  • Stock prices

Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

The key differences between Qualitative and Quantitative Data are:

Qualitative vs Quantitative Data

Qualitative Data Quantitative Data
Qualitative data uses methods like interviews, participant observation, focus on a grouping to gain collective information. Quantitative data uses methods as questionnaires, surveys, and structural observations to gain collective information.
Data format used in it is textual. Datasheets are contained of audio or video recordings and notes.  Data format used in it is numerical. Datasheets are obtained in the form of numerical values.
 Qualitative data talks about the experience or quality and explains the questions like ‘why’ and ‘how’. Quantitative data talks about the quantity and explains the questions like ‘how much’, ‘how many .
The data is analyzed by grouping it into different categories.   The data is analyzed by statistical methods.
Qualitative data are subjective and can be further open for interpretation. Quantitative data are fixed and universal.

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Summary – Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Qualitative and quantitative data are two distinct types of data used for analysis. Quantitative data is numerical, countable, and measurable, providing insights into how many, how much, or how often something occurs. It is used for calculations and statistical analysis. In contrast, qualitative data is descriptive and interpretation-based, focusing on understanding the reasons, processes, and contexts behind certain behaviors or phenomena. It is expressed in words rather than numbers, helping to explain the “why” and “how” behind the data. Together, these types of data offer a comprehensive view of research topics, combining numerical analysis with in-depth understanding.

FAQs on Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Define qualitative data.

Qualitative data refers to non-numerical information that describes qualities or characteristics. It is typically descriptive and can include things like observations, interviews, and open-ended survey responses.

Define quantitative data.

Quantitative data consists of numerical information that can be measured and counted. It deals with quantities and amounts and is often analyzed using statistical methods.

What are some examples of qualitative data?

Examples of qualitative data include:

  • Interview transcripts
  • Observational notes
  • Open-ended survey responses
  • Photographs
  • Videos

What are some examples of quantitative data?

Examples of quantitative data include:

  • Height, Weight, Age, etc.
  • Scores on standardized tests
  • Number of products sold
  • Temperature readings

Write difference between Qualitative and Quantitative data.

Qualitative data are descriptive and conceptual whereas, quantitative data is expressed in numbers that can be measured or counted.

What are the types of quantitative data?

 The types of quantitative data are

  • Discrete quantitative data: It is the form of data that is fixed and cannot be broken down further.
  • Continuous quantitative data: It is the form of data that can be continued and also broken down into smaller units.


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