Qualitative Research Method

10/05/2020 2 By indiafreenotes

The process of collecting data in qualitative research is field-based and iterative, that is, the data collected from the study is organized during analysis in such a way that a pattern will emerge. Unlike quantitative research, it usually starts with the specific and moves toward the general. In this type of research, data patterns generated from analysis inevitably lead to different questions or concepts that the researcher had set prior to data gathering.

Qualitative researchers usually record their thoughts and impressions about the data and methodology that they use. They collect data in different ways and sources, at times using a technique called triangulation in which researchers facilitate validation of data through cross verification from more than two sources.

The main purpose of this kind of research is to understand and interpret social interactions. It usually studies smaller and purposively selected groups of participants. It does not focus on specific variables, but sees the study as a whole. Qualitative research examines the breadth and depth of phenomena. Forms of data gathered typically comprise responses to interviews, participant observations, field notes, reflections, and other open-ended responses, and as such, comprise words, images or objects.

Subjectivity is expected in this research approach as multiple realities are recognized. Researchers and their biases may be known to participants in the research, and participant characteristics may be known to researchers as well. Results in this study are particular, specialized, and therefore less generalizable. Researchers generate new hypotheses and theories from data collected.

Human behavior is viewed by this type of research as dynamic, situational, social and personal. The most common research objectives of qualitative study are to “explore”, “discover”, and “construct”. Qualitative research studies behavior in its natural environment. The final report commonly includes a narrative report with contextual descriptions and direct quotations from research participants.

Assumptions of Qualitative Methods

  • Multiple realities are considered in the research which includes views of the researcher, participants of the study, and even the reader of or the audience interpreting the results.
  • The researcher actively interacts with the participants and one of his/her goals is to lessen the distance between him/her and the people being studied.
  • The researcher recognizes that the research is not value-free, and that it can be influenced by his values and beliefs.
  • Qualitative research is context-bound.
  • Categories of interest emerge from the participants of the research, rather than set by the researcher before conducting the study. An inductive form of logic is followed.
  • The objective of the research is to be able to come up with patterns or theories that will explain the phenomenon being studied.