Hard data is a verifiable fact that is acquired from reliable sources according to a robust methodology.Soft data is data based on qualitative information such as a rating, survey or poll.
The DifferenceHard data implies data that is directly measurable, factual and indisputable. Soft data implies data that has been collected from qualitative observations and quantified. This doesn't mean that such data is unreliable. In many cases, the best data available is soft data. It is common to base business decisions on soft data such as customer satisfaction and product reviews.
ExampleA medical study includes hard data such as the results of blood tests and soft data such as asking patients to rate their symptoms on a severity scale.
NotesSoft data doesn't imply that data is weak, just that it is based on human observations. There is much data that is neither hard nor soft such as measurable data that comes from questionable techniques or statistically insignificant sources.
|Hard Data||Soft Data|
|Definition||Data based on measurable facts from reliable sources and methodologies.||Data based on qualitative observations such as ratings, surveys and polls.|
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