Even if you’re not very familiar with research, you’ve heard the terms “quantitative” and “qualitative”. What’s the real difference?
These terms refer to types of data — not necessarily to research approaches.
Quantitative results are those you can count, that you can tabulate. These are either numbers you can work with mathematically or text responses that you can tally to generate percentages or other mathematical expressions.
Qualitative results are everything else — open-ended responses that you don’t categorize, or transcripts of conversations or feedback, or drawings you ask people to do, or video or audio recordings.
Many people think that focus groups are qualitative and surveys are quantitative. But actually you can have quantitative elements in focus groups and qualitative results in surveys!
In this episode I mention two research providers doing really nice hybrids:
Advanced Strategy Center does wonderful online focus groups that incorporate both verbal feedback on the phone and participant inputs on their computer (both qualitative and quantitative). It’s a great way to capture both!
Reach 3 Insights provides experiential feedback research — imagine you’re at a conference or in a grocery store, sharing a video of what you’re seeing and how you feel about it, but also answering questions on your phone screen. Again, they’re capturing both qualitative and quantitative feedback for their clients.