The DifferenceQualitative data includes facts such a person's name and eye color. It can also include complex information such as analysis, knowledge, judgements, opinion, emotions and abstraction.Quantitative data includes observations that are directly measured with devices such as information technology, sensors or a tape measure. It can also include human judgements such as the result of a survey.
ExampleA coffee product isn't selling well and a company wants to know why. The firm looks at quantitative data such as sales revenue by region but it doesn't tell them much about why the product is failing. They develop a customer survey that asks customers to rate things such as taste on a scale of 1-4. The survey also doesn't indicate any problems.As the quantitative data doesn't indicate the source of the problem the company begins to develop qualitative data by interviewing customers to understand their reactions to the product. This immediately identifies the problem. The customers in the interview seem confused by the packaging and are surprised when told it is a coffee product. One customer sums up the problem with the comment "it just doesn't look like coffee to me, I thought it was tea or dog food or something."
|Qualitative Data vs Quantitative Data
Data represented in a natural language.
Data represented as numbers.
Information about qualities.
Information that can be measured directly as numbers.
Expert judgementPerceptionsAnalysisConversationsCustomer complaints
Sensor dataMeasurementsRevenueSurveys Customer satisfaction