Difference between qualitative and quantitative data

Difference between qualitative and quantitative data

Research is the tool most used to increase and brush up the knowledge stock about something and someone. In the fields of marketing, business, sociology, psychology, science and technology, economics, etc. There are two standard methods for conducting research, ie qualitative research or quantitative research. While there qualitative research is based on verbal narrative such as spoken or written data, the quantitative research uses logical or statistical observations to draw conclusions.

In a qualitative research, there are only a few unrepresentative cases used as an example to develop an initial understanding. Unlike the quantitative research in which a sufficient number of representative cases is considered to recommend a definitive course of action.

There is an endless debate on which research is better than the other, so in this article, we will shed light on the difference between qualitative and quantitative research.

Comparative graph

Basis for comparison Qualitative research Quantitative research
Sense Qualitative research is a method of investigation that develops an understanding of the human and social sciences, to find the way in which people think and feel. Quantitative research is a research method used to generate numerical data and concrete facts, using statistical, logical and mathematical techniques.
Nature holistic particularistic
Approach Subjective Objective
Type of search explorative conclusive
Reasoning Inductive Deductive
sampling intentional Random
Data verbal Measurable
Investigation Process-oriented Result-oriented
assumptions generated Tried
Elements of analysis Words, images and objects Numerical date
Objective To explore and discover ideas used in ongoing processes. To examine the relationship of cause and effect between the variables.
methods Unstructured techniques such as in-depth interviews, group discussions, etc. Structured techniques such as surveys, questionnaires and observations.
Result Develops initial understanding Recommend the final course of action

Definition of qualitative research

Qualitative research provides insights and understanding of the problem's approach. This is an unstructured and exploratory research method that studies highly complex phenomena that are impossible to clarify with quantitative research. Although, it generates ideas or hypotheses for a subsequent quantitative research.

Qualitative research is used to gain an in-depth understanding of human behavior, experience, attitudes, intentions and motivations, based on observation and interpretation, to find out how people think and feel. a form of research in which the researcher gives more weight to the opinions of the participants. Case studies, founded theory, ethnography, history and phenomenology are the types of qualitative research.

Definition of quantitative research

Quantitative research is a form of research based on the methods of natural sciences, which produces numerical data and concrete facts. It aims to establish a cause and effect relationship between two variables using mathematical, computational and statistical methods. Research also known as empirical research as it can be measured with precision and precision.

The data collected by the researcher can be divided into categories or classified, or can be measured in terms of units of measurement. Graphs and tables of raw data can be constructed with the help of quantitative research, making it easier for the researcher to analyze the results.

Key differences between qualitative and quantitative research

The differences between qualitative and quantitative research are clearly provided by the following reasons:

  1. Qualitative research is a method of investigation that develops an understanding of the human and social sciences, to find the way in which people think and feel. A scientific and empirical research method that is used to generate numerical data, using statistical, logical and mathematical techniques called quantitative research.
  2. The qualitative research of a holistic nature, while the particular quantitative research.
  3. Qualitative research follows a subjective approach, as the researcher is intimately involved, while the objective quantitative research approach, since the researcher is not involved and attempts to specify observations and analyzes on the subject to respond to the inquiry.
  4. Exploratory qualitative research. Unlike quantitative research which is decisive.
  5. The reasoning used to summarize the data in inductive qualitative research, while in the case of quantitative research deductive reasoning.
  6. Qualitative research is based on intentional sampling, in which a small sample size is selected in order to obtain an in-depth understanding of the objective concept. On the other hand, quantitative research is based on random sampling; in which a large representative sample is chosen in order to extrapolate the results to the entire population.
  7. Verbal data is collected in qualitative research. In contrast, measurable data is collected in quantitative research.
  8. The process-oriented qualitative research survey, which is not the case in quantitative research.
  9. The elements used in the analysis of qualitative research are words, images and objects while those of quantitative research are numerical data.
  10. Qualitative research conducted to explore and discover the ideas used in ongoing processes. Unlike quantitative research, the aim is to examine the relationship of cause and effect between the variables.
  11. Finally, the methods used in qualitative research are in-depth interviews, focus groups, etc. On the contrary, the methods of conducting quantitative research are structured interviews and observations.
  12. Qualitative research develops initial understanding while quantitative research recommends a final course of action.

Video: Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research


An ideal research one, which is conducted considering both methods together. Although, there are some particular areas that require, only a type of research that depends mainly on the information requested by the researcher. While qualitative research tends to be interpretative, concrete quantitative research.