Slide 4 of 16
Quantitative methods, associated with positivism are designed to collect data in a form suitable for statistical analysis. Thus, a survey using a mail questionnaire might ask questions about the age of the respondent to classify them by age, or determine sex for classification - the occurrence of characteristics can then be counted and, providing appropriate rules of sampling are observed, be subject to statistical analysis of a form that will enable the researcher to determine whether or not a particular hypothesis is supported by the data.
Qualitative research appears to be so called for no real reason - as far as I can discover - other than to distinguish it from quantitative. ‘Qualities’ can be represented by numbers just as they can by text. The real difference seems simply to be that ‘qualitative methods’ gather evidence by means other than counting and, normally, textual information constitutes the core of the data, whether it is the transcriptions of interview records, field observations, or official organizational documents.