When conducting research, it is important to decide on the methodology depending on the focus of the study. There are two ways to go about an analysis: qualitative analysis and quantitative analysis. Many people cannot differentiate between the two concepts and think of them as the same, which is incorrect. If analysis can be thought of as a continuum, quantitative analysis lies at one extreme and qualitative would obviously lie at the other extreme. This article will explain the differences between the two terms decisively to remove all kinds of doubts.
What is Qualitative Analysis?
Qualitative Analysis is used when the researcher wishes to analyze data that are subjective and not numerical. This includes data such as life experiences, opinions, attitudes, etc. In the social sciences, a study is being conducted to comprehend the experience of victims of sexual abuse. The researcher gathers information which reveals the subjective experience of victims. They describe the event, their attitudes, their emotions, etc. These cannot be analyzed through statistics and should be interpreted with the usage of qualitative means. Hence, the researcher turns to qualitative analysis.
Qualitative research often involves the study of behavior and the reasons behind it. This type of analysis is more concerned with how and why instead of what, where, and when, which are more focused upon when conducting quantitative research.
What is Quantitative Analysis?
Unlike in the case of qualitative analysis, in the quantitative analysis, the data is analyzed through statistical means. For example, if a person is made to undergo a blood test, and it confirms that the alcohol percentage is 0.08 in their blood, it is said to be a quantitative test as the result comes out with numbers. Thus, the major difference between quantitative and qualitative analysis pertains to numbers and quantities.
The names of the two types of analysis are an indicator of the way analysis is conducted. When the analysis involves measurements and statistics, it is a quantitative analysis. On the other hand, a non-numerical analysis that deals with quality, for example comparing traits, species, genus, etc., is considered to be an example of qualitative analysis. If you have to describe the color of a solution in a chemistry lab, you are doing qualitative analysis, whereas if you wish to find out the quantity of solute needed in the solution to turn the color of the solution faint green, you are involved in quantitative analysis.
- Qualitative Analysis focuses on subjective, non-numerical data such as life experiences, opinions, and attitudes.
- Quantitative Analysis focuses on numerical data and involves measurements and statistics.
- Qualitative research often involves the study of behavior and the reasons behind it, while quantitative research focuses on what, where, and when.