Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative

Quantitative vs Qualitative

 

Quantitative and Qualitative are two terms between which a variety of differences can be identified. Quantitative has a lot to do with the quantity of an object or a person. On the other hand, qualitative has a lot to do with the quality or the attribute of an object or a person. In other words, it can be said that qualitative refers to the quality whereas quantity refers to a number. This is one of the main differences between the two terms qualitative and quantitative. This article attempts to provide a broader understanding of the difference between the two words.

What is Quantitative?

Quantitative has a lot to do with the quantity of an object or a person. A quantity is something that can be counted or measured. It can refer to almost anything such as height, weight, size, length, etc.  Quantitative is objective. There can only be one interpretation of it, not many as in the case of qualitative. Quantitative is something that can only be measured but cannot be experienced.

Quantitative terms are used in scientific procedures that primarily involve objects. Some of the words that are used in the description of anything quantitative are hot, cold, long, short, fast, slow, large, small, many, few, heavy, light, near, far and the like. A close look at the words mentioned above will make the difference between the two terms, namely, qualitative and quantitative very clear indeed.

When somebody says, “This metal is a heavy one”, then the word ‘heavy’ is used in the quantitative sense. This establishes the fact that quantitative terms are scientific in nature. This highlights the nature of quantitative. Now let us move on to qualitative.

Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative

What is Qualitative?

A quality is a property or an attribute that a person or an object possesses. Hence, it is used to describe the object or the person as the case may be. In opposition to quantitative, qualitative is subjective. Qualitative is something that cannot be measured but can only be experienced. Qualitative terms are used in forms of appreciation such as poetry, literature, and music. In other words, it can be said that qualitative is a term associated with creativity whereas quantitative is a term associated with anything practical.

Some of the words that are used in the description of anything qualitative are good, useless, ugly, beautiful, hard, soft, boring, fascinating, interesting, filthy, neat, dark, pale, wonderful, colorful, evil, angelic and the like.

It is true that the terms mentioned above are used in our daily life. When somebody says, “The girl has a beautiful face”, the word ‘beautiful’ is used in the qualitative sense.  This highlights that the words qualitative and quantitative describe the contrasting attributes of an object or even a person. This difference can be summed up in the following manner.

Quantitative vs Qualitative

What is the Difference Between Quantitative and Qualitative?

Definitions of Quantitative and Qualitative:

Quantitative: Quantitative has a lot to do with the quantity of an object or a person.

Qualitative: Qualitative has a lot to do with the quality or the attribute of an object or a person.

Characteristics of Quantitative and Qualitative:

Description:

Quantitative: Quantity is something that can be counted or measured.

Qualitative: Quality is a property or an attribute that a person or an object possesses. So it can be used to describe the object or the person as the case may be.

Nature:

Quantitative: Quantitative is objective. Quantitative is something that can only be measured but cannot be experienced.

Qualitative: qualitative is subjective. Qualitative is something that cannot be measured but can only be experienced.

Usage:

Quantitative: Quantitative terms are used in scientific procedures that primarily involve objects.

Qualitative: Qualitative terms are used in forms of appreciation such as poetry, literature, and music.

Examples:

Quantitative: Words that are used in the description of anything quantitative are hot, cold, long, short, fast, slow, large, small, many, few, heavy, light, near, far and the like.

Qualitative: Words that are used in the description of anything qualitative are good, useless, ugly, beautiful, hard, soft, boring, fascinating, interesting, filthy, neat, dark, pale, wonderful, colorful, evil, angelic and the like.

 

 

Image Courtesy:

1. “Na (Sodium)” by Dnn87  [CC BY-SA 3.0] via Wikimedia Commons

2. “Children reading The Grinch” by scbailey  [CC BY 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons