focus group

Quantitative and qualitative surveys

Last updated: 10 APR 2022

Researchers and analytics often talk about quantitative research and qualitative research. In this article, you will find descriptions of both terms, different explanations and usage examples for each type of survey research.

Quantitative surveys

Help to answer question : how many?

For example :

How many (approximately) people in a given population recognize a certain brand, use a product or service, have seen an advertisement or have a certain product ...

Quantitative surveys are usually conducted on large (representative for a given population) samples. In this kind of survey research statistical methods are often used both for sample selection and survey results calculation.

Data is collected using questionnaires. Selected (with the usage of statistical methods) group of respondents answer survey questions. Collected data provides information how often certain phenomena appear in surveyed population.

Quantitative research usually is done on the selected sample. Results are then extrapolated into the whole population. (for example : population of certain brand clients, population of small company [1 - 5 people] owners).

Application. Quantitative surveys allow to :

  • Determine market shares
  • Determine demand for a given product or service
  • Determine how often a certain phenomenon occurs in a given community


Qualitative surveys

Help to answer question : how? why?

For example :

How (surveyed people) use a certain product, service, ... why (surveyed people) did certain choices, what were their motivations, ...

Qualitative surveys focus on individuals or small groups of people and usually relate to elements that are difficult to measure.

Qualitative surveys help to identify and understand beliefs and motivations. Numbers are not as important as associations (with brands, products or services) beliefs and motivations that drive consumer behaviour. This kind of survey research helps to identify stereotypes, mind patterns, reactions, reasons, unconscious motives or habits.

Application. Qualitative surveys allow to :

  • Recognize new market
  • Identify customer beliefs and motivations
  • Conduct an initial market or concept survey before quantitative research
  • Get a broader view and better understand surveyed phenomenon
  • Stimulate creativity of research participants to develop new product or advert concepts

NOTE. Qualitative surveys generally focus on a small number of respondents, therefore collected survey results can't be representative for the whole population.

author: Jakub Wierusz

Try for free
Best survey tool with great features

14 days trial | view complete list of features