Qualitative data means non-numerical data which reflects the quality of a subject. It aims to provide explanations for complex human behaviours in different contexts.

It is often associated with unstructured interviews, observations and semiology


More realistic since people are allowed to talk and act freely in a more natural setting

Researcher is more likely to establish a strong rapport with respondents/participants

Data-rich; detailed accounts of thoughts/behaviours can be collected

Seeks to explain 'why', which is useful for solving problems or just for the sake of understanding


Time-consuming, difficult to study a large number of people, thus limits generalisability

Qualitative data is not really comparable...difficult to make comparisons across location and time

Higher risk to bias which might be introduced from either the researcher or participants

Lower reliability since unable/difficult to replicate the research

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