The Differences in Data Collected from Quantitative and Qualitative Research

Data from qualitative research and quantitative research differs in several ways. When conducting research there will be a time when you have to decide between the use of qualitative and quantitative research. Understanding the differences in data that is gathered from these resources will help you decide what type of research you will need to use. This article discusses the differences in data collected from quantitative and qualitative research.

Data from qualitative research can evolve because the researcher can use “any knowledge they gain” during research “to adjust the data extracted from the next participant” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, Ch. 8). This allows data and research to evolve through gained information. In quantitative research identical data is “desired from all participants, so evolution of methodology is not acceptable” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, Ch. 8). Quantitative requires specific data to be retrieved at all time, and qualitative research allows for change. This difference also impacts the way that data from these research methods will be interpreted and analyzed.

This is a major difference in data and the way it will be analyzed. Using a qualitative research method can produce differing data because the means of interpretation differ. Quantitative must produce the same data because the systems of analysis used for quantitative data use equations that can cater to specific data.

Another way that qualitative and quantitative research differs in the way it is analyzed. In qualitative research human analysis, computer analysis, and human coding is used (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). In qualitative research the distinction between facts and judgment is harder to make. In quantitative research data is analyzed by a computer using statistics and mathematical calculations; a precise distinction between facts and opinions is available in this type of research (Cooper & Schindler, 2006).

Qualitative and quantitative data also differs in means preparation and types of data collected. Qualitative data is collected in the form of verbal or illustrative descriptions, but quantitative data comes only in verbal descriptions (Cooper & Schindler, 2006). Qualitative data is turned into verbal systems for interpretation. Quantitative data is “reduced to numerical codes for computer analysis” (Cooper & Schindler, 2006, Ch. 8).

There are several differences between qualitative and quantitative research data. This occurs because the means of collecting data and interpreting data are different in each of these research methods.


Cooper, D. R., & Schindler, P. S. (2006). Business Research Methods (th ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.