Qualitative data

Data does not have to be in numeric form - it can also be in words and descriptions.

Types of qualitative data

Qualitative data can take many forms. Some common types are:

  • Questionnaires - this is when people are asked what they think. Questionnaires are good at finding out opinions, but they may be less accurate when looking for facts.
  • Field sketches and photographs - this is when a snapshot of a landscape is taken, either with a camera or by drawing. Field sketches and photographs provide a good reminder of what a place is like.
A rough sketch of a valley landscape, with mountains, forest, farm house, river, river cliff and rapids visible.A field sketch
  • Maps - these can be either hand-drawn or sourced from somewhere like the internet. Maps give spatial information about places. Satellite images and GIS maps are types of map that can be used for fieldwork.