A qualitative analyst is typically responsible for gathering and looking at data to better understand how it can be used by an employer. The specific tasks performed often depend on the industry in which this type of analyst works, though certain activities are quite common across disciplines. In general, a qualitative analyst begins by gathering data, either through established resources or by conducting interviews. With this information, the analyst reviews the data and uses it to provide additional input to an employer, often assisting with customer service, results on research, or the determination of where resources should be placed.
The word "qualitative" means information that is non-numeric in value, often dealing with general descriptions or data that is expressed across a range of concepts; these words typically describe the qualities something has. Words like "hot" and "cold" are qualitative, while specific temperatures would be quantitative. A qualitative analyst works with these kinds of general pieces of data, and not necessarily with particular numbers or values.
Numerous types of businesses might employ a qualitative analyst to assist with determining how well an operation is proceeding and making recommendations on improvements. A retail company, for example, might hire on a qualitative analyst to look at customer satisfaction for the business. While the analyst might look at some specific numbers, with regard to sales over time, this is typically only to get a sense of how the business is doing.
The major work of a qualitative analyst typically begins with gathering data that can be used for additional review and consideration. In many cases, this can involve conducting interviews; these can be with customers of a retail business or patients that have been assisted by a healthcare provider. Additional procedures can be used to gather information, though analysts can also be provided with data by an employer.
Once the information is gathered, analysis typically begins. There are a number of methods that can be used by a qualitative analyst, though it typically includes looking for connections and correlations between different activities and events. If an analyst sees high numbers of satisfied customers, for example, then he or she may look for connections between those customers and the service they received.
All of this analysis is typically performed to determine how this information can be used effectively. If a qualitative analyst determines that certain practices seem to create greater customer satisfaction, then recommendations can be made to promote and develop further upon them. This is typically the final step in the process, as the analyst relays the information gained from the data in a way that is meaningful and actionable to managers and others.