Reviewing Your Data

Once you collect primary research data, you will need to analyze what you have found so that you can write about it. The purpose of analyzing your data is to look at what you collected—in WRIT 250, these are most likely survey responses, interview answers to questions, or observation reports—and to create a cohesive, systematic interpretation to help answer your research question or examine the validity of your hypothesis.

Qualitative or Quantitative Data

Your data may be quantitative and/or qualitative in nature.

Qualitative data points are generally descriptive in nature. Qualitative research is often focused on a chosen individual or small group in an effort to observe and better understand an event, interaction, or topic. Both interviews and observations are generally qualitative in nature, and some surveys, if they contain open-ended questions, can be qualitative as well.

In contrast, quantitative data points are numerical. Quantitative research focuses on larger groups of people that are randomly selected in order to test hypotheses about those groups of people. Surveys with answer choices are quantitative, and some observations, if done on a large scale and with tallies of actions or behaviors, can be quantitative as well. Most experiments in natural science labs are also quantitative in nature.