What is Qualitative Data?

Data-Design Dictionary
A dictionary to illuminate data-driven generative design and creative coding.


Data comes in different forms. A distinction is made between quantitative and qualitative data. Qualitative data are expressions of aspects of our world whose properties must be perceived and interpreted. For example, it is about whether a statement is funny or whether we find a person attractive. [1]

Qualitative data is information that describes various qualities or characteristics, often collected through observations, studying behavioral patterns, and analyzing structured or unstructured datasets. It can be analyzed either by humans or machines and made usable for the generative process by identifying patterns and themes of the environment. Artificial Intelligence (AI), especially Natural Language Processing, is a very helpful tool to aid the analysis and transformation of qualitative data into numerical (quantitative) form, making it possible for machines to integrate qualitative data.

[1] Jürgen Bortz, Nicola Döring: Forschungsmethoden und Evaluation, Berlin/Heidelberg 2006, p. 32, p. 222.
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