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Dot point # 3: Techniques of qualitative and quantitative data collection: case studies;
observational studies; self-reports; questionnaires
Types of Data
Quantitative data:
Is based on numbers or mathematical expressions (e.g. mean, correlation coefficients, etc.)
Information is based on quantities.
This data is collected through systematic and controlled processes
Can be statistically analysed – e.g. Psych students at S.C have an average IQ
of 112, whereas the average IQ for S.C students in other VCE subjects is 106
Enables more precise analysis; i.e. data can be objectively measured, it can
easily compared (using descriptive statistics) and analysed (using inferential
Consequently quantitative data can be summarised, analysed and interpreted
more easily than qualitative data.
Qualitative data:
Based on written statements, which describes changes in the quality of behaviour (based on
personal accounts relating to feelings, attitudes, etc.)
i.e. information is based on qualities,
Provides data that is richer in detail
This data is difficult to statistically analyse, because it is often subjective e.g.
political opinions, opinions on single sex vs. co-ed schools, etc.
Thus interpretation of results is more susceptible to experimenter effects
Data collection technique:
Case Study
 is an in depth study of an individual or group (uses a combination of observation, interviews,
diagnostic tests) used to study rare disorders
 E.g. Phineas Gage
 Case studies provide ideas for further (experimental) research
 Provides a detailed & (near) complete description of 1 person’s situation and experiences & an
evaluation of treatment including background, family history, environment through 1 on 1 interviews,
individual testing, etc.
 Thus a hypothesis or theory can be proposed
 They provide ideas for theoretical explanations (& experimental research).
Page # 9
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