Qualitative Data

The term qualitative data is simply defined as information that is expressed in natural language and therefore is not conveyed, or is easily reduced or summed up, by numbers. The term data may not be fully embraced by some qualitative researchers due to its historical association with quantitative or numerical ways of knowing. The modifying adjective qualitative seems to be needed when used with data, whereas the phrase quantitative data is rare and seems redundant. Because of this bias, qualitative researchers often prefer terms such as discourse, language, or information over the use of data. If, however, we take the word data from its original Latin roots to mean “something given,” or simply “pieces of information,” then we can more freely discuss what ...

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