- The analysis of a sample (solid, liquid, or gas) to identify its components.
- An analysis whose results are expressed in non-numerical terms. For example, an analysis in which it is determined which chemical species are present in a sample. A quantitative analysis would also determine, for instance, the proportions in which each were present.
- (written as Qualitative Analysis)
This term is used in two distinct senses. The first refers straightforwardly to any kind of analysis that focuses on the direction of causation or change (e.g. positive/negative, better/worse) or their relative size, not their absolute magnitude. The second kind is an approach to the understanding of social phenomena that is largely exploratory and interpretive and intended to be a means through which general (usually social scientific) presumptions or high-level general theorizing may be crafted into more specific hypotheses and theories - hypothesis gener ating rather than hypothesis testing. It produces findings not usually arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other quantitative techniques, and may include in-depth (often deliberately unstructured) interviews, focus groups, participant observation, story-telling, use of 'key informants', grounded theory and documentary analysis.
Qualitative methods have been used by health economists to develop outcome measures (see, for example, Grewal et al., 2006), to explore the use of techniques for eliciting preferences (see, for example, R. Smith, 2007), and for broader examination of health care organizations, particularly in relation to priority setting (see, for example, Coast, 2001; Bryan et al., 2007).
- synonymQualitative Research