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research&project&(see&right).& Types of data


For&more&informa,on&on&the&rela,onship& between&data&and&higher&knowledge,&see&&HBBC& –&GCSE&Bitesize.&


Data comes in various forms but is often described as belonging to one of two types. Quantitative data is typified by having numerical characteristics, whereas Qualitative data is more ‘language-based’ and is typically described in terms of categories, key themes and descriptive features.


Types%of%data%


Data&comes&in&various&forms&but&is&o\en& described&as&belonging&to&one&of&two&types.&Quan(ta(ve&data&is&typified&by&having&numerical& characteris,cs,&whereas&Qualita(ve&data&is&more&‘languageHbased’&and&is&typically&described&in&terms& of&categories,&key&themes&and&descrip,ve&features.&


Type Examples/Forms Quan,ta,ve: measures,&totals,&scores Qualita,ve:


opinions,&views,&explana,ons,& discussion&summaries&


Typical%Sources


tests/exams& coun,ng&responses&or&incidences&& scaled&answers&to&ques,ons


surveys& interviews& focus&groups


Converting data into (meaningful) information! Conver,ng%data%into%(meaningful)%informa,on%


It is difficult to make judgements about the meaning of unprocessed (raw) data. Further, any judgements regarding individual bits of data, in isolation, may be misleading or unreliable.


It&is&difficult&to&make&judgements&about&the&meaning&of&unprocessed&(raw)&data.&Further,&any& judgements&regarding&individual&bits&of&data,&in&isola,on,&may&be&misleading&or&unreliable.&&&


For example, is a test result of 74%, a good score? Well, that depends on how everyone else performed in the test….. if the average test result was 86% and results varied from 72% to 94%, then a seemingly good score of 74% would be nearly ‘bottom of the class’.


Similarly, a particular opinion that keeps on surfacing over and over again in interviews will be clearly more significant than one that only arises once or twice. What this tells us is that we must look at the whole body of data before it can yield up useful and reliable information.


The first stage of data analysis is therefore to find relationships within the entire body of data, and this is the process by which data can become ‘information’. The way we find relationships in a set of data depends on whether it is qualitative or quantitative.


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