Quantitative vs. Qualitative Data

Andrew JohnsonNatural Resources, Online Courses Comments

Quantitative data vs qualitative data - Environmental Monitoring

Q vs. Q

In your career as an Environmental Monitor you will experience collecting both quantitative and qualitative data. But what the heck is it?!

Quantitative data is defined as physical and measurable data. An example of this type of data would be collecting an empirical measurement such as turbidity values from a body of water in a project site.

Qualitative data is defined as a non-physical or observable source of data. This type of data can be collected from monitoring and recording the visual observation. An example of this type of data would be recording the visual observation of a stream’s color or cleanliness.

Both quantitative and qualitative data need to be recorded regularly by Environmental Monitors and carried out in a proper process. Throughout your work on a project site as an Environmental Monitor, there are multiple types of data that should be gathered and recorded. These types of data include turbidity values, pH levels, conductivity, temperature, stream discharge, and dissolved oxygen levels.

Let’s talk factors that could affect the hydrologic cycle that need to be measured either quantitative or qualitatively. Data that should be regularly measured and recorded include moisture regimes, glacier or lake inputs, vegetation up-take and human activities, to name a few. The development level of a watershed can be heavily affected by human activities such as parking lots, clear cuts, roads and factories.  Events that could affect the hydrologic cycle include weather, storms and climate change. A great resource to help in predicting potential issues for the hydrologic cycle in your project site is the water survey of Canada’s Real-time Hydrometric Station website. This site provides users with real-time data throughout Canada. Information provided on the website will help you communicate better with your clients in predicting events that may potentially be a problem for your construction site.

Want to get the full low down on data types and collection required in Environmental Monitoring? Then check out the Fish & Fish Habitat course in the UNBC Continuing Studies’ Environmental Monitoring Certificate.