I just got off the phone with a colleague and we were having a conversation about data. He brought up some good questions and points and so I figured I’d jot a few of them down here before they went right out of my head again.
The gist of the discussion was the difference between quantitative and qualitative data. He was having some trouble explaining the difference to his boss. One line of questioning I asked right off the top was, “Why is this a controversy? Why the heck does this even matter? How did this become a topic of conversation?” It’s always useful to get to the bottom of why someone is asking a question so as to better address it in the first place. Plus, this seems more like an academic inquiry rather than something that’ll actually make a huge difference in what they’re doing.
It is, however, pertinent in a discussion like this, because I’ve used the mechanism that quantitative data can tell us where to look, while qualitative data can tell us what to do once we get there. More on that in a moment. (more…)