Difference Between Qualitative Analysis and Quantitative Analysis

Key Difference – Qualitative Analysis vs Quantitative Analysis


Between qualitative and quantitative analysis, one can identify a key difference. Let us approach this topic in the following manner. When conducting research, it is very important to decide on the methodology depending upon the focus of study. There are two ways to go about an analysis, qualitative analysis, and quantitative analysis. There are many who cannot differentiate between the two concepts and think of them as 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. Let us examine this through an example. 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.

Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis

What is Quantitative Analysis?

Unlike in the case of qualitative analysis, in the quantitative analysis the data is analyzed through statistical means. Let us comprehend this through an example. If s person is made to undergo a blood test, and it confirms that alcohol percentage is 0.08 in his blood, it is said to be a quantitative test as the result comes out with numbers. Thus, the major difference between a 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. are considered to be examples of qualitative analysis. If you have to describe the color of a solution in 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 vs Quantitative Analysis

What is the Difference Between Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis?

Definitions of Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis:

Qualitative Analysis: Qualitative Analysis is used when the researcher wishes to analyze data that are subjective and not numerical.

Quantitative Analysis: In the quantitative analysis the data is analyzed through statistical means.

Characteristics of Qualitative and Quantitative Analysis:


Qualitative Analysis: This focuses on descriptive data.

Quantitative Analysis: This focuses on numerical data.


Qualitative Analysis: This can be used to explore attitudes, behavior, nature of experience, etc.

Quantitative Analysis: This can be used for presenting percentages or any form of statistically significant data.




Image Courtesy:

1. Legal Clinic – Case files By Pravnikliniky (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

2. “SampleBurndownChart” by Pablo Straub – Own work. [Public Domain] via Wikimedia Commons

  • Darlene Selena Williams