Understanding qualitative and quantitative data

Data can be classified as either quantitative or qualitative and each has their own merits for use in particular circumstances. They can be helpful and effective when used individually or together.

The four types of educational data discussed in the What is educational data? infographic fall into one of these two categories.

Depending on your purpose, you might like to use one form or the other. Most often, both qualitative and quantitative data are used (data triangulation) to provide a comprehensive understanding of the issue you are trying to address.

Understanding the types of data you have is a fundamental aspect of data literacy and statistical literacy.

Data literacy: the ability to derive meaningful information from data, both qualitative and quantitative.

Statistical literacy: the ability to accurately understand, interpret and evaluate data.

Educators with data literacy and statistical literacy need not be experts in statistics or data collection methods.