Qualitative Data Definition

Qualitative data is a form of data that describes or exemplify but cannot be presented in numbers or digits. Such data involves the description about the facts like motivation, pleasure, attitude, knowledge, and satisfaction etc. In research point of view qualitative data deals with the attitudes, behaviors and interests of different people, also their perspectives and judgments about specific line of investigation.

Example of Qualitative Date

The qualitative data through an example is explained as; for instance there is a painting which can be illustrated as in a frame of gold there is a mixture of reds and greens or a group of engineering student’s studying on AutoCAD system.


Qualitative data is drawn together from different ways like by conducting interviews, getting observations and developing questionnaires. Few of the respondents state that the data configured in the form of qualitative is more explanatory, exact and comparative. An important statement about the data collection is that the qualitative data is the basic institution for the quantitative data and vice versa. The qualitative data is sometimes converted into quantitative data only to present the facts and figures for the coding in the software’s. It is a rule of thumb that the data which is by default qualitative will always remain qualitative.

Types of Qualitative Data

Qualitative data is considered as to be variety in nature. It includes all the form of data except numerical one. Following are three most common types of qualitative data;

• In depth interviews

• Direct observations

• Written documents

In Depth Interviews

Conducting individual interviews and group interviews are the part of in depth interviews. The data may be collected in different number of ways like writing notes, audio recordings and video recordings etc. this type is adopted to know the sort of interest of the interviewee. In depth interviews are evaluated by asking different developed questions from one or more interviewee’s.

Direct Observations

Direct observation is considered in wider aspect, it is very different in nature from in depth interviews. The observer is not required to be attentive in order to gather information because it includes any general information that may be illustrated by a photograph etc. the data may be collected from people from different cultures as well.

Written Documents

A written document involves the data which is present in the form of written context. It deals with the analysis of such data which may be a magazine, newspaper, article, books, websites or annual repor6ts etc.

Qualitative Data Limitations

There come the specific limitations in order to have the collection of the qualitative data. Stated as;

• Sometimes a huge understanding is required to attain the main objective.

• While collecting the qualitative data, examiner may faces the problems of privacy and disclosure of data. 

• When any of the project includes the qualitative data, there found many difficulties for the investigator to compile all its gathered information different situations.

• Another problem is created, that is when the examiner and the candidate are providing with the same data for research.


• Punch, K (1998) Introduction to Social Research: Quantitative and Qualitative Approaches, London, Sage.

• www.socialresearchmethods.com, accessed on April 8, 2012.