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What is Qualitative Data?

What is Qualitative Data?
Qualitative data is information gathered from a study that is descriptive and not based on numbers. This data is then not measurable, but rather illustrative in nature. An example of this would be gender (male or female), sexuality (heterosexual, homosexual), race (Caucasian, Asian, African). Qualitative data can also be based on observations such as opinions on food taste, customer service, pleasantness of smell, aesthetic quality or sensation.

When qualitative data is pooled together, coded and analyzed, it could turn into quantitative data. For example, if there is enough sample on qualitative data regarding gender, a statistical analysis can be performed, the outcome of which is quantitative data.

Sources of qualitative data can be surveys, focus group discussions, in-depth interviews, direct observations, written documents, rating scales, Likert scales (strongly disagree, disagree, neither agree nor disagree, agree, strongly agree). Usually, because of its subjective nature, qualitative data is less reliable in a research compared to quantitative data.

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Posted by Beth B on Jan 29th, 2011 and filed under Science. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response via following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site