Qualitative Data and Quantitative Data: Differences

Successful qualitative research involves the collection of qualitative data to prove various assumptions. Qualitative research often focuses on the analysis of personal experiences and knowledge, relies on the collection of qualitative data from specific sources. Therefore, this type of facts can be viewed as research information obtained from sources including focus groups, different types of interviews, documents, and observations. Adherence to the qualitative research paradigm presupposes the employment of multiple data collection and analysis techniques.

They include ethnography, narrative approaches, case studies, phenomenology, and grounded theory. These traditions lead to the achievement of three qualitative data collection goals, which are exploration, interpretation, and description (Center for Research Quality, n.d.). Observation of these major purposes is critical for any study.

The qualitative data collection process is a powerful way of developing an understanding of people’s perception of underlying social realities, leading to their actions in the world. Additionally, qualitative data collection embraces exploratory approaches, which underscores the explanation ‘why’ and ‘how’ a particular behavior or phenomenon is in operation in a given setting or context (Center for Research Quality, n.d.). As it comes from the definition, qualitative data is non-numerical, which can be viewed as its major difference from quantitative information. Therefore, interpretation of qualitative data could embrace the grounded theory, thematic analysis, or content analysis. There are various ways how this type of data can be presented.

These include graphic or narrative forms, which are the most effective in describing such facts. At the same time, quantitative data is numerical and requires the employment of statistical approaches for analysis. Furthermore, quantitative data helps to make predictions, test the causal relationship between or among variables, and the eventual generalization of the results to the broader target population (Center for Research Quality, n.d.). These aspects differentiate the qualitative and quantitative data.


Center for Research Quality (n.d.). Overview of qualitative research methods [Video]. YouTube. Web.

Find out your order's cost