QUALITATIVE ANALYSIS: Definition, Example, Methods, Risk & Difference

Qualitative Analysis
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Qualitative analysis is the process of determining the quality of something. In business and management, qualitative analysis is usually for determining the quality of a product or service. For example, a company may use qualitative analysis to ascertain the quality of its customer service. Hence, this article covers qualitative analysis, including its methods, example(s), risk, and differences vs. quantitative analysis.

What Is Qualitative Analysis?

Qualitative analysis is the process of evaluating business and management problems and opportunities by collecting and analyzing data that is not numerical. This analysis is typically to gather information about customer needs and preferences, understand how employees feel about their jobs, or assess the effectiveness of marketing campaigns. 

The goal is to help managers and decision-makers understand the underlying reasons for various phenomena. You can also look at your customer satisfaction levels to determine your company’s analysis. For example, you can use qualitative analysis methods to check your product quality, though there’s risk vs. quantitative analysis. It is often in conjunction with quantitative analysis, which is a process of determining the quantity of something.

One of the challenges is that it can be difficult to draw definitive conclusions from the data. This is because qualitative data is often subjective and open to interpretation. Another challenge is that qualitative data can be time-consuming and expensive to collect. However, qualitative analysis can be a valuable tool for gaining insights.

What Are The Two Types Of Qualitative Analysis? 

#1. Primary Qualitative Analysis 

A primary qualitative analysis is an analysis of data collected for the specific purpose of the study. This data can be in interviews, focus groups, or surveys. The data is then analyzed to look for themes and patterns. Hence, you can explore it in market research to understand customer preferences and behaviors.

#2. Secondary Qualitative Analysis

Secondary qualitative data analysis is a type conducted after the primary. The researcher for the primary data analysis or another researcher can conduct a secondary analysis. It usually involves a more in-depth data analysis than the primary.

Secondary qualitative data analysis can include different data analysis techniques, such as content analysis, thematic analysis, and discourse analysis. It can also involve using different data interpretation techniques, such as interpretive phenomenological and hermeneutic analysis.

In essence, primary analysis involves collecting data from first-hand sources, such as interviews, focus groups, and surveys. This type is more reliable than secondary data from newspapers, magazines, and websites. However, primary data can be more expensive and time-consuming than secondary data. Secondary data can be useful for exploring new ideas and generating hypotheses but you should verify it with primary data before using it to make business decisions.

What Are The Six Types Of Qualitative Analysis?

#1. Typology

In business, typologies are to classify customers, products, or market segments. For example, a company might use a typology to segment its customer base by age, income, or location.

Furthermore, typology can be a useful tool for businesses to understand their customers. So, by segmenting customers into groups, your business can develop marketing strategies for each group. This, however, will help you meet the needs of their customers and increase sales.

#2. Case Study

A case study is a qualitative analysis, to identify trends and patterns within a business. It is often to identify problems and opportunities within a business. Case studies can be on businesses of all sizes, from small to large corporations.

Research firms or consultants who interview employees, customers, and other stakeholders within a business usually conduct case studies. They may also review financial documents and other data to understand the business comprehensively. After conducting a case study, the research firm or consultant will compile a report of their findings. Then, business leaders use the report to make decisions about the future of the business.

#3. Phenomenology

Phenomenology is a qualitative research method used to understand someone’s experience of a phenomenon. In business research, phenomenology studies customer service experiences, employee experiences, or organizational culture.

Phenomenology is a highly flexible research method that you can adapt to fit the needs of any research question. One of the key benefits of phenomenology is that it allows researchers to gain rich, in-depth insights into the lived experiences of their participants. This type can be very valuable for businesses, as it can provide insights that will be otherwise difficult to obtain. However, if you want to conduct a phenomenological study in your business, there are a few things to note: 

  • First, recruit participants willing to share their experiences with you. 
  • Second, design your study in a way that allows you to collect detailed data about your participants’ experiences. 
  • And finally, you will need to analyze your data in a way that captures the essence of your participants’ lived experiences.

Hence, phenomenology is good for understanding the lived experiences of employees and customers and identifying potential areas of improvement.

#4. Ethnography

Ethnography is the study of people in their natural environment. It is a qualitative research method that uses field observation and interviews to gain an in-depth understanding of a group’s culture, values, and beliefs.

Meanwhile, you can use ethnography to study numerous topics, including customer behavior, employee morale, and organizational culture. When used in business, it can help organizations better understand their customers and employees, and make better decisions about products, services, and policies.

#5. Grounded Theory 

Grounded theory is a qualitative research methodology first developed by Barney Glaser and Anselm Strauss in the 1960s. It involves the development of a theory from collected data through qualitative methods such as interviews, observations, and document studies. This theory is good for understanding the underlying reasons businesses do what they do and for identifying potential areas of change, based on the collected data, and not on the researcher’s preconceptions or assumptions.

In addition, grounded theory is a flexible methodology you can explore in different ways. For example, you can use this qualitative analysis to develop theories on organizational culture, leadership, and decision-making. Thus, it is particularly well suited to exploratory research, as it allows the researcher to generate new theories from data with a specific theory in mind.

#6. Historical

Historical analysis is the examination of past events to gain a better understanding of current trends. This type of analysis identifies patterns and trends and makes predictions about future events. You can apply historical analysis to business, economics, politics, and history.

There are many different methods to conduct historical analysis. One common method is to examine primary sources, such as documents, artifacts, and eyewitness accounts. Another method is to use secondary sources, such as history books and articles. This help understands how a specific business has changed over time, and long-term trends.

Nevertheless, historical analysis can be a valuable tool for businesses. By understanding past trends, businesses can make better decisions about the present and future. Historical analysis can also help companies to identify opportunities and threats.

What Are Three 3 Methods Of Qualitative Analysis? 

#1. Interviews

Interviews are perhaps the most common form of qualitative analysis in business. You can conduct them over the phone, in person, or online. It allows researchers to ask detailed questions about customers’ thoughts, feelings, and experiences. 

#2. Focus Groups

Focus groups are another popular option. It’s a small group of people brought together to discuss a product or service, especially when trying to understand how they interact with your product or service. However, the goal is to get feedback and insights to help improve a product or service.

#3. Ethnographic Research 

Ethnographic research is a more immersive form of qualitative study that involves observing and participating in the customers’ daily lives. This type of research can be incredibly insightful, but also logistically challenging and time-consuming.

What Are The Four 4 Qualitative Methods? 

#1. Focus Groups 

Focus groups are small groups of people who discuss a topic in depth. A moderator leads the discussions and encourages participants to share their opinions.

#2. In-depth Interviews 

In-depth interviews are one-on-one conversations with knowledgeable people about a particular topic. The interviewer asks probing questions to get detailed information from the interviewee.

#3. Ethnography 

Ethnography is a type of qualitative research that involves observing and interacting with people in their natural environment. Ethnographers typically spend much time in the field, getting to know the people they are studying.

#4. Case Studies 

Case studies are in-depth investigations of a single person, group, or event. Business researchers often use case studies to examine a new business model or understand how a company has succeeded (or failed) in the past.

Qualitative Risk Analysis

Qualitative risk analysis is the process of assessing the severity of risks. It is often in conjunction with quantitative risk analysis, which estimates the potential financial impact of an event. Qualitative risk analysis identifies and prioritizes risks. 

Qualitative risk analysis is subjective, as it relies on the opinions of those conducting it. This can make it difficult to compare the results. There are several benefits of conducting a qualitative risk analysis. 

  • First, qualitative risk analysis help organizations to identify and assess the risks that are most important to them and to develop strategies for dealing with those risks.
  • Secondly, you can also use it to identify potential risks that may not be immediately apparent.  By conducting a qualitative risk analysis, organizations can prepare to deal with the risks they face and minimize the impact of potential events.

Qualitative Analysis vs. Quantitative Analysis

Below are the differences between qualitative vs. quantitative analysis:

Qualitative analysis is to gain a better understanding of a topic. This research passes through interviews, focus groups, or observations. The goal is to know the underlying reasons for a certain behavior or belief.

Quantitative analysis is research used to collect numerical data. This data is then analyzed to look for trends or patterns. The goal is to generalize the research results to a larger population.

In a nutshell, qualitative data analysis is a  way of turning numbers into knowledge, while quantitative data analysis is a way of understanding the world through numbers.

What Are The 3 Cs Of Qualitative Data Analysis? 

The 3Cs of qualitative data analysis are codes, categories, and concepts.

What Is Qualitative Analysis And Examples? 

Qualitative analysis is a process of examining data to identify patterns and trends. An example of qualitative analysis can be a study of a woman’s pregnancy experience. The analyst might interview the woman about her feelings during different stages and look at specific details like her diet and exercise habits.

What Are The 5 Types Of Qualitative Research Analysis? 

There are five main types of qualitative research are content, thematic, discourse, narrative, and grounded theory.

Why Is Qualitative Analysis? 

Qualitative analysis is to study the qualitative aspects of a situation or phenomenon. 


Qualitative analysis focuses on understanding a phenomenon from the viewpoint of the people who experience it. This includes understanding their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors. The difference is that qualitative is often more subjective and interpretive, while quantitative is more objective and factual. However, while qualitative methods are less precise than quantitative methods, they can provide valuable insights into a topic.



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