Qualitative and Quantitative Data

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SCIENCE ANIMATION TRANSCRIPT: Let's look at the difference between qualitative and quantitative data. Scientists observe and collect different types of information called data. So, what kind of data can we collect? Well, the two main types of data are qualitative data and quantitative data. Qualitative data includes descriptions that do not contain numeric values. Notice the word qualitative has "quality" embedded in it. Qualitative data tends to be subjective impressions such as how tasty one school lunches compared to another one. As you can see, qualitative data consists of observable things that can be described and recorded in ways other than numerically. Now, let's talk about quantitative data. Unlike qualitative data, quantitative data contains numbers obtained by counting or measuring. Notice the word quantitative has "quantity" embedded in it. For example, recording quantitative data can be as simple as counting specific things such as the number of boys in your class compared to the number of girls. Quantitative data can also be measurements of length, width, height, volume, as well as mass, or temperature. Sometimes scientists will breakdown quantitative data into specific types called discrete data and continuous data. Discrete data can only have a certain exact value which can't be subdivided. For example, if you roll a typical pair of dice, you can roll a two or a three, but it's impossible to roll a two and a half. You can only roll a whole number between 2 and 12. Likewise, the number of protons in an atom is also an example of discrete data because you can't have half a proton. In contrast, continuous data can have almost any value. For example, measurements such as height come in a range of continuous data. Why? Because measurements can have any value in fractions of a unit, in this case, meters. In review, qualitative data contains descriptions that don't use numbers, while quantitative data contains numbers obtained by counting or measuring. Both discrete and continuous data are types of quantitative data. Discrete data can only contain certain specific values, while continuous data can have almost any value.

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