Definition: Qualitative data
OECD - Business tendency surveys
The data collected in business tendency and consumer opinion surveys are termed "qualitative" because respondents are required to assign qualities to the items of interest. For example, they may be asked to say whether their order books are "higher", "lower" or "same" compared with some previous period. The qualitative data obtained in business tendency and consumer opinion surveys are also described as "categorical" because respondents are required to choose between two or more responsecategories, such as "better", "same", "worse".
Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), "Business Tendency Surveys - A Handbook", OECD, Paris, 2003