Qualitative Data

Definition

Qualitative data are data representing information and concepts that are not represented by numbers. They are often gathered from interviews and focus groups, personal diaries and lab notebooks, maps, photographs, and other printed materials or observations. Qualitative data are distinguished from quantitative data, which focus primarily on data that can be represented with numbers. 

Qualitative data can be analyzed in multiple ways. One common method is data coding, which refers to the process of transforming the raw collected data into a set of meaningful categories that describe essential concepts of the data. Qualitative data and methods may be used more frequently in humanities or social science research and may be collected in descriptive studies.

Examples

Examples of qualitative data are the transcript of an interview and data collected in free text fields in a survey. 

Tools

There are many tools available for qualitative data analysis, depending on the data type. Some popular tools include:

Further Resources

Deakin University Library created a great video explaining the difference between qualitative and quantitative research and data:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4iws9XCyTEk

 

This guide provides a full look at qualitative data, including how and why it’s collected and used:

https://www.fullstory.com/qualitative-data/ 

Search for a Term

Send us your feedback or suggestions for new terms

Contact information
CAPTCHA This question is to prevent spam submissions. Contact nwso@hshsl.umaryland.edu for any accessibility issues.
4 + 0 =
Solve this simple math problem and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.