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Difference Between Qualitative Data and Quantitative Data

Qualitative Data vs Quantitative Data

In the study of statistics, the main focus is on collecting data or information. There are different methods of collecting data, and there are different types of data collected. The different types of data are primary, secondary, qualitative, or quantitative. In this article we will focus on qualitative and quantitative data and their differences.

Statistics is basically the study of data. Statistics is either descriptive or inferential. Descriptive data is the study of methods used for the collection of data and mathematical models in order to interpret data. Inferential statistics is the study in which different techniques and systems are used to make probability–based predictions and decisions depending on incomplete data.

Statistics uses a lot of mathematics and many major concepts like probability, populations, samples, and distribution, etc. have been made possible by statistics. To study statistics, we need to collect data, quantitative as well as qualitative.

Qualitative Data
Qualitative data collection is a method in which the characteristics, attributes, properties, qualities, etc. of a phenomenon or thing is described. It is the description of data in a language rather than in numbers. This method does not measure the characteristics but describes them. For example;
Favorite color = blue
It is also sometimes referred to as “categorical data.” It does not focus on drawing any inferences. It only deals with data that can be observed like texture, taste, smell, beauty, but is not measured.

Qualitative data, in recent years, has lost reliability to some extent and has come under criticism, but they provide a better description and thus have more validity to them. Research uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods because the qualitative data and description backs up the numerical data with the help of better explanations and information.

Quantitative Data
Quantitative data collection is a method in which data that can be numerically counted or expressed is collected. This data is useful for experiments, manipulated analysis, etc. and is represented by histograms, tables, charts, and graphs. It deals with measurements like height, length, volume, area, humidity, temperature, etc.
For example;
Height = 2.8m. Or sometimes they represent the exact number like,
Number of students = 234.

This type of data is associated with some type of scale measurement. The most commonly used scale for this data is a ratio scale. Another general scale measurement is the interval scale.
Quantitative data is criticized for its lack of in-depth description thus it is used by researchers along with qualitative data to back up its reliability with explanations of the qualitative information.


1.Qualitative data collection is a method in which the characteristics, attributes, properties, qualities, etc. of a phenomenon or thing are described; quantitative data collection is a method in which data which can be numerically counted or expressed is collected.
2.Qualitative data is criticized for its unreliability so it is backed by quantitative data; quantitative data is criticized for its lack of description and explanation thus it is backed by qualitative data. Both are used together for research.

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