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What is the difference between qualitative and quantitative data?

This is a common question at A-Level, especially in a Geographical Skills paper. You may be required to give examples of each type of data.

Qualitative data is usually descriptive data such as the collection of people’s opinions or perspectives on an issue, and is therefore generally more subjective. The most common form of qualitative data are open-ended questionnaire responses or conversation analysis, for example.

Quantitative data is generally numerical (or can be placed into categories) and is therefore more objective in nature. Examples include river velocity data or pedestrian counts. This data is easy to put into a table and graphs and can then be made ready to be analysed further. 

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