Answered By: Krista Reynolds
Last Updated: Jun 18, 2019     Views: 98

One definition of quantitative data collection is "The processes involved in capturing structured data through the use of instruments such as questionnaires" (Sage, n.d., para. 1). Think of quantitative as "quantity."

Researchers may collect quantitative data using the following techniques:

  • Experimental design
  • Data mining (collecting and analyzing large amounts of data using computers)
  • Psychological or other tests
  • Surveys or questionnaires

Clues the researchers used quantitative techniques:

  • Researchers measured specific things (e.g. test performance)
  • Data are represented numerically
  • Statistics were used to analyze and compare results

To find quantitative research in databases, add the following to your other search terms: ("quantitative study" OR "quantitative research")

"Qualitative research is an approach to research that is primarily concerned with studying the nature, quality, and meaning of human experience" (Willig, 2016).  Research results are typically not represented numerically.

Researchers may collect qualitative data using the following techniques:

Data analysis techniques used in qualitative research include:

  • Coding, categorizing, and/or identifying common themes
  • Analysis of conversations or other communication 
  • Phenomenological analysis

To find qualitative research in databases, add the following to your other search terms: ("qualitative study" OR "qualitative research")

Please note that many researchers use a combination of quantitative and qualitative methods, so an article may not be strictly one type or the other. If you have questions, please ask a librarian!

Sage Publications. (n.d.). Methods map: Quantitative data collection. Retrieved from

Willig, C. (2016). Qualitative research. In L. H. Miller (Ed.), The Sage encyclopedia of theory in psychology. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications. Retrieved from

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