Difference between Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis: Qualitative and quantitative analysis are two fundamental methods of collecting and interpreting data in research. These techniques can be used independently or concurrently since they all have similar targets.
Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis
The distinction between qualitative and quantitative approaches is similar to the difference between human and artificial intelligence. Quantitative analysis uses exact inputs such as profit margins, debt ratios, earnings multiples, and the like.
These can be plugged into a computerized model to yield an exact result, such as the fair value of a stock or a forecast for earnings growth. Of course, for the time being, a human has to write the program that crunches these numbers, and that involves a fair degree of subjective judgment.
The analysis deals with intangible, inexact concerns that belong to the social and experiential realm rather than the mathematical one.
Qualitative analysis is concerned with the analysis of data that cannot be quantified. This type of data is about understanding and insights into the properties and attributes of objects (participants). Qualitative analysis can get a deeper understanding of “why” a certain phenomenon occurs.
Unlike with quantitative analysis that is restricted by certain classification rules or numbers, qualitative data analysis can be wide-ranged and multi-faceted. And it is subjective, descriptive, non-statistical and exploratory in nature.
Examples of Qualitative Analysis
The central part of qualitative analysis is the ‘why’ question. Why do people behave in certain ways? Why do they make decisions? Qualitative analysis and research methods often include:
- Focus groups
- Open-ended questionnaires and surveys
- Unstructured interviews
- Unstructured observations (like reading social media posts)
- Case studies
Qualitative analysis tends to look very deeply at a few things to understand the ‘why’.
Quantitative analysis is often associated with numerical analysis where data is collected, classified, and then computed for certain findings using a set of statistical methods. Data is chosen randomly in large samples and then analyzed.
The advantage of quantitative analysis the findings can be applied in a general population using research patterns developed in the sample. This is a shortcoming of qualitative data analysis because of the limited generalization of findings.
Quantitative analysis is more objective in nature. It seeks to understand the occurrence of events and then describe those using statistical methods. However, more clarity can be obtained by concurrently using qualitative and quantitative methods.
Quantitative analysis normally leaves random and scarce events in research results whereas qualitative analysis considers them.
Examples of Quantitative Analysis
The central part of quantitative analysis is the ‘what’ question. What happened? How many people bought this product? What percentage of people considered this brand? Quantitative analysis and research methods often include:
- Closed-ended questionnaires and surveys
- Large-scale data sets
- Analytics gathered by machines
- Random sampling
- Structured data
- Tracking software such as CRMs, marketing automation, advertising
Quantitative analysis tends to look very broadly at many things to understand the ‘what’.
Distinctions Between Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis
1. Quantitative analysis quantifies data to test hypotheses or predict the future whereas qualitative analysis seeks to get a deeper understanding of why certain things occur.
2. The sample is small in qualitative analysis and cannot be used to represent the whole population while in quantitative analysis the sample is large and can represent the entire population.
3. Qualitative analysis uses subjective judgment based on unquantifiable information.
4. Machines struggle to conduct qualitative analysis as intangibles can’t be defined by numeric values.
5. Typical data include color, race, gender, in qualitative analysis whereas in quantitative analysis includes all measurable quantities such as density, length, size, weight.
6. Understanding people and company cultures are central to qualitative analysis.
7. Qualitative analysis is exploratory and subjective.
8. Quantitative analysis is conclusive and objective.
9. The researcher conducts interviews or surveys to collect qualitative data whereas in quantitative analysis the research conducts experiments, observations, and measurements.
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