Qualitative and Quantitative Data: What Do You Need it For?

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29 Sep- 8 min read

Qualitative and Quantitative Data: What Do You Need it For? 1

When processing surveys, different methods of getting and analyzing information are used. Two methods that are often confused are quantitative and qualitative analysis. They do not imply the same or substitute each other, they rather complement each other. What assessment to give and how to use them correctly – this is the question of qualitative vs quantitative data search.

The difference between quantitative and qualitative research

What are the key differences between qualitative vs quantitative? Very briefly, quantitative data provides in numbers a general idea of a particular situation related to a product, service, service level, etc. And qualitative data opens refines and supports these general points – they make them more detailed and precise.

Different types of quantitative and qualitative data

Quantitative data is always presented in numbers. They can be processed by statistical methods and get some specific indicators. For example, after a survey, you can understand that 70% of your site visitors do not use regular promotions, which are located in a special section.

Qualitative data describe the situation. They are based on different information:

  • impressions,
  • opinions,
  • views of different people, etc.

There’s one important thing: qualitative research involves asking the participant open-ended questions, which makes it more difficult to process such questionnaires. However, they contain a lot of discoveries and data that can then be used with great benefit for the business.

Sharing qualitative and quantitative sources

Can qualitative and quantitative research be used together and effectively shared? Integration is an intentional process where the data researchers bring both quantitative and qualitative approaches together in a thorough study. Quantitative and qualitative data then become interdependent in addressing common research questions or hypotheses.

Why quantitative and qualitative user research is important: use cases

Thus, qualitative vs. quantitative research user data are best used in a complex to obtain a more comprehensive quantitative vs qualitative idea of various issues at hand and foresee their possible solutions. Conducting both quantitative and qualitative user research will help researchers to form hypotheses better and determine the best metrics on how to test them.

A case: you create a survey on the product quality. First, you use you can understand that 65% of your customers do not buy the product, which is qualitative data retrieved as statistical from analytics tool. When you get this data you may pass it over to the qualitative to collect as much useful information as possible, which will be used in the future.

You need to at least roughly understand what problems and dissatisfaction customers may have, what they are happy about, and what they do not rate too highly. And this is where the results of a qualitative survey will help. That is, initially you ask open-ended questions. For example, ask how the buyer evaluates the ratio of the cost of the product and the effect of its use, etc.

When the answers are received, different opinions can be retrieved: the product costs more than it should; the goods are acceptable, but the packaging leaves much to be desired; for this price, you can buy, but only if the volume is larger, etc. There can be many such examples.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of quantitative data?

We see that qualitative and quantitative surveys solve different problems, but when combined, they provide maximum useful information. Nevertheless, either method may have its pluses and minuses.  Let’s revise quantitative data first.

Advantages of quantitative data

  • Quantitative vs qualitative research has a precise and detailed formulation of a scientific problem;
  • Accurate and clear definition of independent and dependent variables in the research process;
  • Strict adherence to the goal and objectives of the study, the possibility of obtaining more objective results, checking the accuracy of the hypothesis, establishing cause-and-effect relationships;
  • High level of reliability and accuracy of the data obtained as a result of sociological surveys, structured interviews, etc.
  • Elimination and minimization of the subjectivity of conclusions;
  • Possibility of carrying out long, repeated measurements, etc.

Disadvantages of quantitative data

Among the disadvantages of the quantitative method you will find the lack of the possibility of obtaining information about the situational context of the phenomenon under study;

  • the inability to control all those circumstances and contexts that do not affect the quality of respondents’ answers;
  • limited conclusions, which is due to the format of the study: the clarity of the formulation of questions, strict adherence to the goals and objectives;
  • lack of opportunity to study evolving processes, and phenomena in dynamics.

Quantitative research method – research is aimed at obtaining digital information about a large number of research objects: buyers, consumers, and enterprises.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of qualitative data?

If you come closer to the qualitative vs quantitative questions, you will understand there are also pluses and minuses to mind while researching.

Advantages of qualitative data

Advantages of the qualitative method may be:

  • Getting the most realistic picture of the phenomenon, which cannot be obtained using statistical analysis and digital indices;
  • Flexible methods of data collection, their subsequent analysis, and interpretation;
  • Using a holistic approach to the phenomenon under study;
  • Ability to interact with study participants in their native language and in their environment;
  • Use of descriptions based on primary and unstructured data;

Disadvantages of qualitative data

You will find the following among the disadvantages of qualitative methods:

  • Displacement of the original objectives of the study as a result of the changing nature of the context;
  • Formulation of conclusions that carry the personal coloring of the researcher;
  • Impossibility to study the causal relationship between the studied phenomena;
  • Problematic explanation of the differences between the quality and quantity of information received from different respondents and the formulation of different, inconsistent conclusions based on this information;
  • A high level of professionalism of the researcher is a necessary condition for obtaining objective and necessary information;
  • Lack of complete objectivity and reliability of conclusions, since the respondents can choose what to say, etc.

How are quantitative and qualitative data collected?

Any type of quantitative data vs qualitative data should be collected and stored to be further processed, analyzed, and measured, which is the practical use of any data processing. So, there are tools for data gathering and analysis.

Quantitative data is gathered by measuring and counting numerical information. Qualitative data is collected by interviewing and observing insights, etc. Quantitative data is analyzed using statistical analysis tools, while qualitative data is analyzed by grouping it in terms of meaningful categories or themes, questions, answers, etc.

Quantitative and qualitative data: methods of analysis

Participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups are the leading qualitative methods.

Open questionnaires

Open questions are when you do not give the client all the answers, but give them the opportunity to express their opinions in detail.

One-on-one interview

This makes sense when it comes to large projects or expensive products that not everyone can afford.

Working with focus groups

It’s similar to the interview format, but it’s only about talking to a small group of people. All this happens in an interactive format – participants actively share their opinions and answer questions.

Expert opinions

Sometimes using this tool avoids some problems with clients. That is, experts are able to predict this or that reaction and offer a more profitable solution in advance.

Observation

The observation of users based on previously known information will also do. If a company has released another product line, it can analyze how quickly the product is sold out, and from here draw a conclusion about the interest of customers.

Accordingly, there are four main types of quantitative research analysis:

Descriptive

Qualitative descriptive research is used to generate the data that describe the ‘who, what, and wheres of certain events or experiences from a subjective perspective.

Correlational

Correlational research is used to investigate the relationships between two variables (or more) without the researcher controlling or manipulating any of them. It’s a non-experimental type of quantitative research.

Causal-Comparative/Quasi-Experimental

Causal-comparative or quasi-experimental research attempts to establish cause-effect relationships among the variables involved into research. These types of data research are very similar to true experiments, but with some key differences.

Experimental Research

Finally, experimental research is conducted with a scientific approach using two sets of variables. The first set acts as a constant, which you use to measure the differences of the second set. Simple.

Check out more on website research, some quantitative vs qualitative risk analysis, UX and customer retention research, and other methods that are often applied in practice in either research case with Creabl.

Conclusion

Qualitative research is almost always done first when it is clear that there is a task or problem, but there is no structured information yet. When responses are received from the respondents and they are processed, there is already a starting point for further research – and this is where quantitative methods come in handy. They will help you understand how relevant a particular problem or wish voiced by a person is to the audience. After receiving the exact numbers, something can be discarded and something can be given more attention.

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