What Is Qualitative Data?
What is 'qualitative data' and how can you leverage it for your business?
Qualitative data is the descriptive numerical data that can detect trends or behaviours, such as focusing on your customers' likes and dislikes about a product.
Categorical data has many uses, including market research and engineering applications.
Making sense of this information on its own is often tricky because it's not presented concisely, but it can provide valuable context when combined with quantitative data.
The significance of qualitative data
Even though the world is becoming increasingly quantitative and numbers-driven, it is essential to note that analysts depend on qualitative data to develop better prediction models.
The development of statistics can be attributed to the need for businesses to collect and analyse more information about their customers, primarily qualitative information.
The fact that emotions are inanimate makes it hard to measure them and get an accurate record. Emotions and perceptions can be measured using qualitative data.
It's essential to measure the emotions as it helps you evaluate the effectiveness of your marketing strategies and gives a better understanding of the product and its target audience.
Qualitative data, which provides information about your users' motivations, traits, and characteristics, is an essential complement to traditional quantitative analytics data.
Nowadays, understanding how your customers and visitors use your site or app is essential to providing them with a great user experience.
Types of qualitative data
While most of us are accustomed to analysing numbers, other important aspects of our lives can best be described by words and feelings.
When we conduct qualitative research, we often examine how people see things: what do they think of a particular situation? Can you explain why people act the way they do?
Qualitative data is determined by offering a complete, detailed description of individuals’ thoughts and motives. The information can be gained through interviews, documents, and even personal observations.
Qualitative data collection involves in-depth research in a real-life context with the individuals involved in the study.
Since qualitative data cannot be structured or measured, researchers rely on methods of data collection that are non-structured, unstructured, or semi-structured. The most prominent methods of collecting qualitative data are as follows:
1. Personal interviews
A one-to-one interview is a research technique that involves eliciting information, experiences, opinions, and perceptions. It refers to the personal conversation or informal interviewing with an objective participant by a researcher or interviewer.
These interviews are helpful as they go beyond just collecting data but also about the process of talking about the subject.
As a researcher, one can take advantage of this opportunity to learn more about an interviewee's state of mind, worldview, hopes, and fears. This type of interview aims to understand something from the respondent's perspective.
Using a person's subjective opinion and feelings influences the final research outcome marginally.
2. Focus groups
Focus groups are perhaps the most well-known of all qualitative data collection methods. They are used to gather information on attitudes, experiences, and needs. A relatively small sample of people is usually sufficient for this type of study.
Focus groups often comprise between 6 - 12 people who a moderator asks questions. The idea behind focus groups is that group interaction will generate insights that would not typically be revealed through individual responses.
Focus groups can be an effective method for ensuring proper communication between the researcher and the researched. The discussions in focus groups are usually free-flowing, allowing the researcher to steer the conversation as needed.
3. Previous research
This method aims to provide an opportunity for researchers to gather and collect accurate data from other studies that have been previously carried out.
This is the most economical data collection method as it does not involve any extra effort in collecting data. This method can be used for multiple purposes, making it more cost-effective.
It does not require the particular expertise of anyone. Nonetheless, the data collected via this method may be already outdated and may not be quantifiable.
This method is mainly used by researchers who study the behaviour of people, where they need to record conversations and etiquette of people.
The data collection method involves setting up a situation and allowing the participant to engage in behaviours that the researcher can observe and record.
The observations are then analysed for themes or patterns in the area under research.
Observation helps us see things that we would otherwise not see. It is one of the most powerful and widely used qualitative research methods.
Observation is one of the least evolved techniques in qualitative research, and hence, there is still much work to be done on its standardisation, reliability, and validity.
5. Case Studies
The case study method allows for an in-depth analysis of a single organisation for an indeterminate period by collecting data from personal interviews, field observations, and document reviews. A researcher can identify patterns, differences, and similarities using different collection methods in this method.
The way this is accomplished is to create a generalised and theoretical framework to help guide the researcher’s thoughts so that conclusions drawn from it are meaningful.
It is a very flexible research method and is often used with quantitative research methods. The case study is typically used when the goal is to gain a deeper understanding of an event, phenomenon, or even a trend.
Qualitative data tools
Qualitative data, such as open-ended responses and observations, can be harder to analyse since it's not numerical. Therefore, it's hard to get any value out of the data points if you don't know how to organise them.
You can use several data analysis tools when dealing with qualitative information. Some of the best ones are:
Each type has its strengths and weaknesses, and using all of the different kinds in conjunction with one another may provide the most objective results.
These programs have many features that support the tedious work of organising, searching through, and coding interview transcripts, field notes, or other document-based data.
How can Campaignware help?
With the help of Campaignware, you can easily set up a survey or feedback form to research and qualify leads.
For example, Campaignware’s, Emoji survey template lets you collect customer feedback via as a simplified way to collect qualitative data
The process is simple. Choose a template, add your brand and logo, select questions you want to ask your audience, and share it on your website.
Qualitative data is the most approachable and practical way of data collection. It can be used in any research that requires a more in-depth analysis of a specific topic.
Qualitative data can be highly subjective, thus providing insights into how people perceive the world around them based on their individual experiences and personal perspectives.
It is more helpful in increasing customer satisfaction by solving customer problems. Qualitative data being descriptive is easy to understand and has excellent results.