Qualitative and Quantitative Data – Definitions and Examples

Qualitative data describes, while quantitative data is expressed using numbers. (dirkcuys)

Qualitative data describes, while quantitative data is expressed using numbers. (dirkcuys)

There are two types of data. Qualitative data is descriptive information about characteristics that are difficult to define or measure or cannot be expressed numerically. Quantitative data is numerical information that can be measured or counted.

Qualitative → Qualities

Quantitative → Quantities

Examples of Qualitative Data

  • feelings and emotions
  • texture
  • flavor
  • color (unless it can be written as a specific wavelength of light)
  • expressions of more/less, ugly/beautiful, fat/thin, healthy/sickly

Examples of Quantitative Data

Quantitative data can be expressed as numbers. If you can measure it, it can be expressed as a quantity.

  • height
  • weight
  • number of objects
  • volume
  • temperature
  • pressure
  • price
  • speed
  • percentages

Using Both Types of Data

While quantitative data is easier to analyze, qualitative data is also important.

If you are conducting an experiment using the scientific method, for example, you want to record your observations and data as thoroughly as possible.

Let’s say you want to describe a cat. You would use both types of data. Qualitative data could include its fur color and the color of its eyes, whether its fur is soft or rough, the sounds it makes, how it smells, whether it seems affectionate or aloof, its health, whether it is young or old. Quantitative data could include its length, weight, number of toes on each paw, how high it can jump, how many ounces of food it eats each data, and its body temperature. 


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