Qualitative research is one approach to gathering scientific information. Qualitative data are non-numeric and can include detailed descriptions of situations, interactions, personal histories and direct quotations from people about their experiences.
Qualitative research is often contrasted with quantitative research, which uses primarily numerical data. In qualitative research it is more important to characterize the nature of an individual's experience than to count the number of experiences or to measure how often they happen.
Qualitative methods of data collection include interviews, focus groups, observational studies and open-ended responses to written questions. Qualitative analysis involves the organization and interpretation of non-numeric data to discover underlying themes and patterns that help to explain the phenomena under study. Qualitative data provide depth and detail about individual experiences.
(See also QUALITATIVE RESEARCH)
Quantitative research is one approach to gathering scientific information. Quantitative research methods attempt to capture the measurable attributes of human experience. Data collected through the use of quantitative methods are systematically collected in numeric form.
Methods of data collection include clinical and laboratory tests, survey questionnaires and measurements.
Quantitative analysis involves the interpretation of numeric data using statistical procedures to describe the phenomena under study or assess the magnitude and reliability of relationships under study.