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The Salamander Project

Qualitative and Quantitative data
Both types of data have strengths and limitations and may be appropriate for different settings, evaluation designs, and evaluation questions. Qualitative data consist of words and narratives. The analysis of qualitative data can come in many forms including highlighting key words, extracting themes, and elaborating on concepts. Quantitative data are numerical information, the analysis of which involves statistical techniques. The type of data you collect guides the analysis process.

One example of qualitative data would be if you conducted a focus group with parents participating in an education program to understand participant perceptions. In this case the data that you collected was probably narrative in form, so you would use qualitative techniques to analyze the transcripts looking for content and themes relevant to the program.

An example of quantitative data would be if you administered a satisfaction survey asking participants to rate their experience on a scale of 1 to 5. In this case the data would be numeric in form and you would use statistical techniques to draw conclusions about participant satisfaction.
The two tables below detail the strengths and limitations of both types of data.