10 Unique Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative data?

The collection of data is studied in statistics. It is divided into primary data and secondary data. Primary data is further subdivided into qualitative and quantitative data.

The main difference between qualitative and quantitative data is that qualitative data refer to descriptive data that cannot be calculated whereas quantitative data refer to data that can be expressed numerically. 

The lesson provides a significant difference between qualitative and quantitative data with a comparison chart for easier understanding.

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Difference between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

What Is Qualitative Data?

Qualitative data refers to data which deals with descriptions and cannot be calculated or computed. The intention of the data is to provide insight and understanding about a certain problem.

The researcher is required to have an understanding and knowledge about the topic prior to the collection of data. These data are quite difficult to analyze.

The method of collecting qualitative data are observation, focus group, interviews, and archival materials. The collected data is interpreted as either spoken or written literature.

What Is Quantitative Data?

Quantitative data refer to data that can be measured and expressed numerically. This implies that the type of data can be calculated and computed.

The data collected can be presented in charts, tables, graphs, and pictures among many other methods of presentations.

The main source of quantitative data is surveys, experiments, observations, and interviews among many others.

Comparison Chart: Qualitative Data Vs Quantitative Data

Basic Terms Qualitative Data Quantitative Data
Meaning Refers to descriptive data that cannot be calculated Refers to data that are expressed numerically and can be calculated
Research Methodology Exploratory Conclusive
Approach Subjective Objective
Analysis Non-statistical Statistical
Collection of data Unstructured Structured
Determines Depth understanding Level understanding
Frequently asked Why? How Many? Or How Much?
Sample A small number of non-representative samples A large number of representative samples
Result Formulate initial understanding Recommend a final course of action
Nature Less generalized More generalized

Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Data

  1. Qualitative data is difficult to analyze whereas quantitative analysis is lighter to analyze.
  2. Qualitative data requires a lot of time to collect whereas quantitative analysis requires little time to analyze
  3. Qualitative data is non-statistical whereas quantitative data is statistical test analysis
  4. Qualitative data determines depth understanding while quantitative data determines level understanding
  5. Collection of qualitative data is unstructured whereas quantitative data is structured
  6. Qualitative data entails a small sample of non-representative whereas quantitative data entails a large number of a representative sample
  7. Qualitative data involves the development of initial understanding while quantitative data recommend a final course of action
  8. The approach of qualitative data is subjective whereas that of quantitative data is objective
  9. The methodology research of qualitative data is explanatory whereas that of quantitative data is conclusive
  10. Qualitative data is texted base whereas that of quantitative data is number based.

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Comparison Video


The core difference between qualitative data and quantitative data is qualitative data help in the formulation of theories whereas quantitative data is meant to test pre-specified concepts.

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