Quants and quals

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This op-ed piece in the New York Times is focused on educational reform in the U.S.  However, its premise is just as applicable to market research.

The writer, Stanley Fish, tries to bridge the gap between what are essentially quants and quals.  There are people who believe that everything relevant to educational achievement can be measured.

However, there is a more compelling argument that what educational reformers are measuring is largely irrelevant, and that the true marks of a quality education are intangible and thus it is impossible to assign them a number or a percentage.

As  “big data” becomes more and more prevalent in business, this quant-qual debate (and understanding the trade-offs inherent in each approach) will become even more germane to marketers.