Quant and Qual

Tell me if this sounds familiar.

Back when I was at the university, doing research full time, we’d produce reports where the front contained all our quantitative results and the back held our qualitative findings. We coulda been talking about the same themes in both sections but it was up to the reader to connect those dots.

Why do we do this to our audience?

The answer is usually that there’s a qual team at the university and a quant team and never shall the two meet. We make silos. Like those ex-best friends at the party who just happen to not be in the same room at the same time.

I just wanna Freaky Friday the quant and the qual folks so they could build some cross-team understanding that would make it possible to generate integrated insights.

Because that weirdly contentious divide on the research team creates situations where yall haven’t done your job. You’ve maybe delivered data. But not insights. Information. But not answers to people’s questions.

If the audience has to do all the work to pull out the meaning from related content delivered in two different locations, you’ve failed them. And everyone who contributed data to your study. And me. Because I know you’re better than that.

So let me start you off with the easiest, most low hanging fruit-est way to integrate your quant and qual data.

Place pull quotes near their associated quant charts.

Instead of putting a string of quotes in Chapter 8, pull out one excellent quote, pop it on a rectangle, and slide it right up next to your graph. The combo works together to tell a fuller picture.

Got more than one good quote? Cool. Use them.

In this example, we created a heat map of interviewee responses, color-coded along a Likert-like scale. Quant-y. And we illuminated each Likert-like sentiment with a color-coded corresponding quote.

This, by the way, was the executive summary of the report. Yes, the report audience loved it and yes our client sees us as total rockstars.

When we bring stories and data together, we create the strongest possible chain of evidence. So please don’t let archaic academic divides keep you from producing the best data reporting you can.

Pull quotes are just the beginning. Like your gateway drug to qualitative data visualization. Check out even more qual viz ideas here.

I can show you how to make these stunners (in Excel, Tableau, and R) inside the Evergreen Data Visualization Academy. Enrollment is closed right now, but get on the VIP list and I’ll send you possible discounts and even let you in early next time we open the doors.

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