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What does quantitative data mean?

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Quick Answer

Quantitative data is any kind of data that can be measured numerically. For example, quantitative data is used to measure things precisely, such as the temperature, the amount of people in a crowd or the height of a structure. Although quantitative data usually involves numbers and equations, some data records actions, such as the frequency of human behavior.

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Quantitative research methods are most often used science, psychology and economics. Although quantitative data involves exact measurements, the data is still subject to variables. For example, a researcher gathering quantitative data on the financial earnings of a group of people may not have access to all financial documents, or some earnings may not be reported. However, quantitative data relies less on interpretation, so it is generally considered to be very accurate.

Quantitative data is often analyzed using statistics to record the frequency of occurrences. This kind of data rarely results in a new theory. Instead, most quantitative data builds on existing academic theories.

Quantitative data is often contrasted to qualitative data. Qualitative data is commonly used in the social sciences to record and analyze observations that cannot be measured or quantified, such as the behavior of people. However, qualitative and quantitative data can both be used to investigate the same research question and reach the same conclusion.

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