Combine Qualitative and Quantitative Data

Using a combination of qualitative and quantitative data can improve an evaluation by ensuring that the limitations of one type of data are balanced by the strengths of another. This will ensure that understanding is improved by integrating different ways of knowing. Most evaluations will collect both quantitative data (numbers) and qualitative data (text, images), however it is important to plan in advance how these will be combined.


When data are gathered

When data are combined

  • Component design: collecting data independently and then combining at the end for interpretation and conclusions.
  • Integrated design: combining different options during the conduct of the evaluation to provide more insightful understandings.

Purpose of combining data:

  • Enriching: using qualitative work to identify issues or obtain information on variables not obtained by quantitative surveys.
  • Examining: generating hypotheses from qualitative work to be tested through the quantitative approach.
  • Explaining: using qualitative data to understand unanticipated results from quantitative data.
  • Triangulation (Confirming/reinforcing; Rejecting):verifying or rejecting results from quantitative data using qualitative data (or vice versa)