Qualitative data refers to information that is expressed in a language such as English and cannot be easily quantified or measured. It is often contrasted with quantitative data, which can be represented numerically and is more easily processed by machines. While qualitative data may provide deeper insights and context, it is more difficult to analyze and requires advanced techniques such as artificial intelligence for natural language processing. Currently, most qualitative data is generated by humans, but it is possible that machines may eventually be able to express complex ideas with words as well.
The following are common examples of qualitative data.
- Strategy – A company executive expresses a company’s strategy in words.
- Designs – An architect describes a concept for a building to a client.
- Communication – A stock analyst advises an investor on a private call.
- Stories – A firm builds an extremely valuable brand by telling stories that people find compelling.
- Comments & Feedback – A new game is released and people who try it post their feelings and ideas about it.
- Guides – A guide describes how to write code in a particular programming language.
- Knowledge- A physicist explains a new theory with a short analogy. The theory goes on to change our understanding of the universe and has countless applications for engineering and technology.