Depending on the characteristics of our object of study, sometimes we will carry out a qualitative investigation and sometimes a quantitative one. Qualitative research examples for students
This time we will focus on the first of the modalities, thus discovering what characterizes and distinguishes it from the other typology, what are its advantages and disadvantages, and of course we will see some examples of qualitative research to easily understand what it is.
Understanding qualitative research
Before starting to list the different examples of qualitative research, it is convenient to make a short introduction that helps to understand what this methodology consists of. Qualitative research is a type of study that, based on the scientific method, is dedicated to registering certain characteristics that cannot be measured by numbers at first .
To make these records, researchers have a series of techniques such as mere observation, whether participant or not, surveys and interviews, or discussion groups. What is done using these tools is to obtain complete speeches from the participants in order to then carefully analyze the content and be able to draw conclusions.
These techniques are suitable for this type of work, as we will see later in the different examples of qualitative research. On the contrary, quantitative investigations use experiments. Those of a qualitative type are investigations that are very oriented to disciplines that are included in the social sciences, generally, although it may be the case that the field of study is different.
As we will discover when reviewing the qualitative research examples, what this type of work seeks is to study the phenomenon in its natural context . Once this has been observed, the researcher’s job is to interpret all the data that he has been able to record in order to give them a meaning that explains the specific quality that he has been studying. Qualitative research examples for students
What he would be carrying out is an induction process, since he would start from the cases that he has been able to observe during the investigation and from the data studied in them, he would reach the conclusions applicable to the generality of all the cases. Therefore, in addition, in this type of research it is not usual for the scientist to establish a priori hypotheses.
The studies carried out to give rise to the different qualitative research examples are with small samples . A statistical analysis of the data obtained is not carried out. That is a task that remains for quantitative research cases.
Different examples of qualitative research
Now that we have the theoretical basis necessary to be clear about the characteristics of these studies, we will go on to see a list of examples of qualitative research that will complement the data seen in the introduction and thus we will have a global vision of this concept.
1. Vote intention survey
One of the first examples of qualitative research that we can easily find is related to voting intention surveys. These studies are usually done with a random population sample whose subjects are asked questions aimed at knowing what will be their preferred option to vote in the next elections, if any. Qualitative research examples for students
It is also usually asked about the opinion that the different political leaders of the main parties deserve. Likewise, in other surveys, questions are formulated with the aim of finding out what are the main concerns about the elements that surround the society in which you live, whether they refer to internal issues, such as the unemployment rate or a political scandal, or external, such as a global economic crisis.
This type of study allows us to know the general thoughts of a certain population about a specific issue. For this reason, although the example is that of the intention to vote, as it is one of the most recurrent reasons, we must know that the methodology is applicable to practically any subject that the researcher is interested in knowing in order to carry out his study.
2. Peer relationships
Continuing with the list of qualitative research examples, we can also observe numerous studies whose purpose is to find out what are the social relationships that are established between a certain group of people. For example, the observation scenario can be a school, checking what are the behavior patterns of children at certain ages .
Continuing with this example, an observer who is integrated into the daily routines of the class and can appreciate the behaviors of the children without interfering in them, will easily be able to find out what are the social relationships that have been built between them, of friendship, of enmity , participation in certain sports and activities, etc. You will also see how those ties evolve over time, strengthening, weakening or disappearing.
The school is only one of the possible scenarios, because in reality we can observe the behavior of human beings in any type of scenario, whether in their jobs, in shops, in entertainment venues or any other that is given to us. happen. Human behavior is so complex that any new field of observation that occurs to the researcher will provide him with very rich information to continue unraveling its secrets. Qualitative research examples for students
3. Behavior of animals
But we can not only observe human beings. For many purposes, we are also interested in knowing the behavior of different animal species. The observation can be done both in the natural habitat, if possible, and in captivity , either in zoos or other enclosures where the animal is found.
We can observe and learn from any animal species, but depending on the purposes of the research, some will be more interesting than others. For example, practitioners of ethology and primatology who seek to conduct a comparative study of animal behavior with human behavior will surely find the observations of primates more interesting, and the closer genetically to humans, the better.
In this case, a good example could be the observation of chimpanzees in their natural environment, and its highest representative could not be other than Jane Goodall, who has dedicated no less than 60 years to carry out this type of study with populations of wild chimpanzees of Africa. The field of qualitative research in primatology would not be the same without the contributions of this ethologist.
4. Traditions of a certain culture
When we talk about human behavior, we must not forget that, although one part is innate, another corresponds to the sociocultural construction of the individual we are observing . For that reason, another of the most important qualitative research examples is that of the traditions that a particular culture possesses. Qualitative research examples for students
For example, we can simply think of the very different rites that take place when a human being is born, when he marries or when he dies, depending on the country or culture in which he lives. Generally, these types of issues are deeply rooted in religions, as they have marked the behavior of people in many aspects for centuries, and have even left an important impact on those societies that today are called secular.
5. Consumption habits
Of course, in a society based on capitalism, companies will invest large amounts of money to get to know their potential customers in depth . Therefore, another example of qualitative research that we should not lose sight of is that of consumer habits. As many studies as there are products or services on the market can be done.
Each company or sector is going to be in charge, to a greater or lesser extent, of studying the population in which its potential consumers are found. They will see what the product attracts their attention, at all levels, from its packaging or its location in the corresponding store to the design, the materials or the utilities themselves. Any small detail can make a difference and translate into huge profits or losses. Qualitative research examples for students
For this reason, this is probably one of the fields where qualitative research has more weight , since the marketing of any company is based, or should be based, on a high knowledge of the public to which its service or product is directed.
6. Study of behaviors associated with psychopathologies
To close the list of qualitative research examples, we cannot forget about a very particular type of human behavior, and it is the one that is associated with the different psychopathologies . In order to correctly understand the implications of a certain psychological illness, it is essential that we know in detail the behavioral alterations that it leads to on a day-to-day basis: hallucinations, delusions, states of agitation, etc.
Therefore, all those qualitative research aimed at shedding light in this regard will be relevant, and thanks to which, mental health professionals can do their work more and more efficiently.