When writing academic papers, students can use different types of qualitative research. This research design is mostly used in social sciences. It focuses on studying human behavior from the viewpoint of the participant. Qualitative research design is not just about what other people think. It’s also about why they think the way they do.
An example of qualitative research is when a store wants to improve its overall patronage. By conducting systematic observation, a researcher can conclude that more men visit the store than women. Using different types of qualitative research methods, the researchers can probe this issue further and in detail. For instance, researchers can question visitors and make conclusions based on their responses. They can also try to understand their feelings and motivation to visit the store. Understand the respondents can help the researchers make more informed conclusions.
Major Types of Qualitative Research
There are six major types of qualitative research method. These are mostly used in education, business, and government organization models. They help researchers to reveal the perceptions and behaviors of their target audience about specific topics.
The choice of the type of qualitative research methods to use should depend on what the researcher wants to achieve. However, these research methods are descriptive and inferences are drawn with ease based on the obtained data.
What is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative research definition refers to it as a market research method whose focus is on obtaining data via conversational and open-ended communication. It’s a form of investigative research that focuses on understanding perceptions and views. The origin of qualitative research is in the behavioral and social sciences. But, why use qualitative research?
Well, qualitative research provides insights into various problems. It also helps researchers develop theories or concepts for possible quantitative research. But, why is qualitative research important? Well, the fact that the analysis looks deeper into problems enables researchers to discover new individual views and thoughts.
This research method uses different forms of semi-structured and unstructured data collection practices. These can include individual interviews, group discussions, journal and diary exercises, as well as, the participation of the other people. Validity in qualitative research can also be enhanced by observing postures, gestures, and body language. Researchers can study them to identify specific problems while providing effective solutions.
6 Major Qualitative Research Designs
Here are the major types of research methods or designs uses by most qualitative researchers:
- One-on-One Interview
This research method entails conducting in-depth interviews. A researcher comes up with qualitative research questions to ask the participants during the interview. Each respondent is asked these questions at a time. This research method is purely conversational and it provides a chance to gather more details from respondents.
One of the major benefits of qualitative research is that it provides an opportunity for researchers to collect precise data about the beliefs and motivations of the respondents. An experienced researcher can ask the right questions to gather meaningful data. If a researcher needs more information, they can ask follow-up questions.
Interviews are performed on a face-to-face basis or phone. One interview can last for up to two hours or more. What’s more, researchers can read the respondents’ body language and match their responses.
- Focus Groups
This method entails formulating qualitative research questions and asking them to a target group of respondents. Usually, a focus group comprises a limited number of people. A researcher can randomly pick 6 to 10 respondents from their target market.
The goal of using a focus group is to get answers to what, why, and how questions. One of the major advantages of qualitative research that uses a focus group is that in-person interaction is not a must. That’s because a researcher can send members of the group an online survey. Respondents can use different devices to respond to the survey and the researcher can college their responses by clicking a single button.
But compared to other methods, the focus group method is more expensive. Most researchers use this method to explain more complex processes. It’s a more useful method for conducting market research on a new product or testing a new concept.
- Ethnographic Research
This is a more in-depth observational method of data analysis in qualitative research. It entails studying people within their natural environment. With this method, a researcher has to adapt to the environments of their target audience. These environments can be in remote locations or a city. As such, geographical constraints may become an issue when collecting data.
The focus of this qualitative research methodology is on understanding the cultures, motivations, challenges, and settings of the respondents. Rather than rely on discussions and interviews, researchers get the first-hand experience of the natural settings of their respondents.
Credibility in qualitative research can be enhanced by using this method because it provides first-hand experience and researchers can take a few days or even years to collect data. It involves in-depth observation and data collection from the ground.
Among the major characteristics of qualitative research is that it can be time-consuming. It also depends on the researcher’s expertise when it comes to observing, analyzing, and inferring data. This is evident from what ethnographic research method entails.
- Case Study Research
Over the years, the case study research method has undergone some changes. It has become a valuable method for conducting qualitative research. Researchers use this method to explain an entity or organization.
The purpose of qualitative research that employs this method is mainly to narrow the focus to specific areas. These can include social sciences and education. Case study research may seem difficult to use. However, it’s a simple way of researching an entity or organization. It entails diving deeper and understanding methods of collecting data thoroughly to eventually infer it.
- Record Keeping
This research method uses available data from similar sources and documents. Researchers can use this method when conducting new research. It’s just like visiting a library to gather evidence from documented sources. A researcher can use reference materials like books to gather relevant data and include it in their research.
- Qualitative Observation
This is a research process that employs subjective methodologies to collect systematic data or information. Because qualitative observation focuses on a research process that uses subjective methodologies to collect data, it is primarily used in equating quality differences.
This research method deals with five sensory organs, as well as, their functioning. These are touch, smell, sight, hearing, and taste. It’s a method that does not involve numbers or measurements. Instead, it focuses on characteristics.
Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research
Differences between qualitative and quantitative research are straightforward. These research methods differ in:
- Analytical objectives
- The asked questions
- Types of the instruments used to collect data
- The produced forms of data
- Flexibility level
Limitations of Qualitative Research Methods
Qualitative research is limited in some situations. Some of the major limitations of these research methods include:
- It does not measure, count, or provide statistical validation
- It does not determine the best price point or product concept
- It does not show why specific satisfaction criteria or needs of a customer are important
- It does not substitute quantitative research due to budgetary and/or time constraints in situations where quantitative evaluation is important
Issues of Validity and Reliability in Qualitative Research
Issues of validity, reliability, and trustworthiness in qualitative research are discussed in terms of the transferability, credibility, dependability, and the ability of the results and instrumentation of a study to be confirmed. These metrics are used to evaluate the quality of research. They are important because the findings are utilized in practice or incorporate in the delivery of services.
Triangulation in qualitative research is also used to test validity and reliability. This helps in illuminating some of the ways of maximizing or testing the reliability and validity of a qualitative study. Therefore, validity, reliability, trustworthiness, and triangulation are relevant concepts, especially from a qualitative viewpoint. If you need more details, we advise you to contact our thesis writers.
Many students have always asked, what are the 4 data collection methods in qualitative research? Well, you now have more than 4 methods. It’s, however, important to always remember that qualitative research should describe diversity and variation in a phenomenon, situation, or problem with a flexible approach.