Some differences between quantitative and qualitative data

fundamental-fridays
quantitative
qualitative

(Stacey McDonald) #1

Here are some basic differences between quantitative and qualitative data:

The following has been edited to build on the original table:

Quantitative

  • Goal: Discovering facts, explanation or causation
  • Research Question: What, when, where and who questions
  • Sample: Large number of people
  • Data: Measurable data gathered via surveys or secondary data
  • Analysis: Statistical methods
  • Assumes a fixed and measurable reality, which in turn means the analysis takes an objective approach

Qualitative

  • Goal: Learn what people are doing, and why they are doing it, from the participant’s perspective; focus on meaning
  • Research Question: How and why questions; explanatory
  • Sample: Usually smaller groups of people
  • Data: Words, behaviours or visual; collected through participant observation or interviews to enhance understanding
  • Analysis: Data analyzed by themes, data is categorized into patterns
  • Assumes a dynamic and negotiated reality, which in turn means the analysis takes a subjective approach

Diffen provides a comparison chart that’s a bit more detailed, if you’re curious :wink: