Qualitative Observation vs. Quantitative Observation: What’s the Difference?

The main difference between qualitative observation and quantitative observation is that qualitative observation is often used in social research whereas quantitative observation is often used in scientific research.

Before we move to more differences, let’s first understand Qualitative Observation and Quantitative Observation:

  • Qualitative Observation: Qualitative Observation is a method of collecting data that involves collecting non-numeric and descriptive information.
  • Quantitative Observation: Quantitative Observation is a method of collecting data that involves collecting numerical and measurable data.

Now, let’s get to Qualitative Observation vs Quantitative Observation:

Major differences between Qualitative Observation and Quantitative Observation

Qualitative Observation Quantitative Observation
Qualitative Observation is often used when the data cannot be measured in a numeric format. Quantitative Observation is used when the data must be measured in a numeric format.
Qualitative Observation is subjective in nature. Quantitative Observation is objective.
Qualitative Observation is usually exploratory and idea-generating. Quantitative Observation is often carried out to test and confirm hypotheses.
Qualitative Observation provides depth and richness to the data collected. Quantitative Observation provides accuracy and reliability to the data collected.
Qualitative Observation data cannot be statistically analyzed. Quantitative Observation data is analyzed statistically.

So, these are the main differences between the entities.

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