What is a qualitative research? This type of research is considered exploratory, naturalistic or descriptive. It focuses on understanding events as they occur rather than as they are presented by the researcher. In order to do this, it may involve observation and field notes as well as interviews with participants in the study. This method involves researchers discovering variables through data collection from subjects who have been selected from their real world context instead of randomly from populations defined beforehand according to specific criteria (respondents).
Components of a Qualitative Research
When conducting research, it is important to understand that asking questions or having a discussion with another individual is kind of like playing the game 20 Questions. If I ask you, “guess what animal wears glasses” and your answer is “a human”, then my question could be rephrased as “What humans wear glasses?” The advantage of qualitative research in this context is that it helps us ask better questions by understanding the psychosocial constructs involved. We can do this by examining the components of a qualitative research:
1.”What,” which refers to a specific phenomenon being observed.
2.”Why,” where we investigate possible causes for the phenomena.
3.”Who,” investigates demographics such as age, gender, religion etc.
4.”Where,” looks at the location of the research.
5.”When,” investigates time-related factors
In qualitative research, these questions should be addressed and answered as much as possible to gain a thorough understanding of what is taking place and why. There are different types of qualitative research: historical, critical, descriptive and case study. Critical/historical inquiry attempts to explain phenomena by using concepts such as political economy and ideology while descriptive inquiry describes phenomena without explanation or exploration of its origin. The other main goal of this type of research would be to give meaning to events as they take place without focusing on how they came to be. Famous examples include those conducted by Charles Darwin, Margaret Mead and Clifford Geertz among others. Finally, case studies are carefully-researched projects that focus on understanding a single individual, event or other limited scope.
Importance of a Qualitative Research
Qualitative research is very valuable because it portrays reality instead of creating a false picture of it like quantitative research does. It also allows us to get a better understanding of the world around us and how certain factors such as age, gender and culture impact our experiences. By using this method, we can explore hidden or nuanced problems that would be difficult to identify using conventional methods. Qualitative research has been used in anthropology, sociology, community studies, psychology and education among other fields.
Why a Qualitative Research?
The main goal of qualitative research in general is to understand human behavior, beliefs and actions by going beyond the facts involved and looking at real life situations from different perspectives. This type of study seeks to have participants explain their feelings about an issue in a way that helps the researcher get a better sense of the problem under investigation. Some famous examples include using domestic violence counseling sessions to examine how women from low socioeconomic backgrounds deal with domestic abuse or using psychotherapy sessions to understand what certain feelings mean to an individual.
How a Qualitative Research is Designed?
In order to conduct a qualitative research, it is essential for researchers to consider what being involved means before going forward. This type of research involves close contact and observation of individuals known as participants so it is important that they agree to have information recorded about them so others may learn from their experiences. There are different ways in which this can be done:
- Observation without participation: In this case, researchers simply watch and observe people’s activities without interacting with them. This method helps collect data about human behavior when they aren’t aware of being watched or listened to.
- Participant observation: Here, researchers interact with people in their natural environment so they can observe and record the processes involved. They may also be asked questions in order to get a better idea of how an individual feels about certain issues.
- Nonparticipant observation: Two-thirds of all cases fall under this category where researchers simply watch interactions between participants without involving themselves. This type of research is most effective when dealing with very sensitive information that may affect individuals who are not directly involved in the study.
Qualitative research does not involve large sample sizes (typically less than 100) like most quantitative research. This is one of the reasons why it is not as well funded as quantitative research. In order to avoid this issue, most researchers who work on small budgets would opt for mixed methods by combining the two approaches in a way that would make their data more valuable.
Tips of conducting a qualitative research
- It is important for researchers to make sure they find the right participants in order to generate quality results. They should not just look for anyone who may be part of the study. Instead, they should carefully select people who would represent their population that best reflects what they are trying to describe or prove.
- Researchers often focus on understanding how individuals interact with their environments instead of just focusing on specific aspects of it like other research designs do so they can get a better sense of what’s actually involved in real life situations.
- Qualitative research has no common standards or guidelines about its processes so conducting one involves lots of trial and error until you get it right. However, there are some tools that can help you improve your chances of success like triangulation (using two or more research methods to check consistency), objectivity (ensuring you maintain an unbiased view of the subject) and neutrality (not letting your beliefs interfere with your work).
- It is essential for researchers who want to conduct a qualitative study to consider their data analysis. This step helps them eliminate any bias that may affect the results so they can present accurate information to others who are not involved in the study.
- Most experts recommend using visual models when analyzing qualitative information because it makes it easier for people without knowledge about how this type of research works understand what’s being studied, leading them to trust its findings more than other types of studies. There are three main models used: grounded theory model, symbolic interaction model and interaction ritual model.