Qualitative research is scientific research that is used to collect non-numerical data through different methods, such as observation methods, face-to-face interviews, and case studies. Qualitative research methods are used to obtain detailed answers to questions. Research participants are asked open rather than closed questions through surveys and questionnaires.
In it, the researcher places more importance on concepts, definitions, meanings, and detailed description of things and places less emphasis on figures and numbers. Qualitative research methods explain how and why something happens and do not answer what and how much happens.
For example, if a store manager wants to know the reason for the decline in daily sales rate, he or she should conduct qualitative research, such as face-to-face interviews with potential customers, observing customer behavior in the store. He can randomly select clients and ask them to participate in the interview process.
By conducting qualitative research, you will be able to understand the reasons behind the decline in sales, such as high prices, missing items, etc. By knowing these reasons, you can work on them and boost your sales again. The answers to these questions can only be determined through interaction with potential customers and observational study.
Characteristics of Qualitative Research
real world environment
The real-world setting is the first characteristic of qualitative research. In its methods, such as the observational method, ethnographic research, focus groups, and individual interviews, the behavior of study participants is observed and conclusions are drawn based on their responses and behavior.
For example, a teacher will carry out qualitative research if he wants to know the reason for the drop in performance of students in the class. It is done in natural settings to obtain real information.
The researcher plays an important role
A researcher is a person who conducts qualitative research. Qualitative research can be done by a group of people or by an individual. A researcher’s purpose is essential in it. The qualitative research researcher is responsible for choosing the research method and developing a plan for conducting effective research.
The investigator is also responsible for participating in the study to make the appropriate observations. He participates in the research and involves the participants in the study. He also explains the research procedure to the participants and answers their questions.
Different research methods
Another vital feature of the qualitative research method is the different research methods. For example, focus group, face-to-face interview, observational research methods, case study, content analysis, ethnography, phenomenology, terrain theory, and group discussions.
Each qualitative research method has a different meaning and is used for different research settings and situations. Sometimes researchers use more than one qualitative research method to get accurate results. Research methods such as case study and content analysis are also used to compare the results of quantitative research.
An essential feature of the it method is that it is beneficial for complex reasoning. Sometimes there are search situations that require complex reasoning to get the right results rather than direct statistical answers.
For example, if a restaurant owner wants to know what types of entertainment people prefer at different times of the day and why, then they should adopt one of the qualitative research methods to understand the customer psychology behind the choice. of your entertainment.
Furthermore, qualitative research methods are also used to explain the results of quantitative research methods.
Significance of the participants
In qualitative research, just like the researcher, the role of the participant is also very important. Throughout the research process, a researcher’s focus is on understanding and determining the meaning that a participant brings to the research rather than the definition given or intended by the researcher based on literature reviews.
From the different perspectives of the participants, a different meaning of the research is observed.
It is flexible. It can change at any stage of the investigation, and depending on the change, it can also change the course of the investigation. Therefore, qualitative research is used in a setting where the flexible nature of the research is acceptable.
In qualitative research, researchers share with participants everything about themselves, such as their background and the purpose of the research. Reflexivity also makes them openly and willingly participate in research.
The goal of qualitative research is to describe a larger picture. When conducting qualitative research, the researcher focuses on different perspectives and determines various factors that go into the research.
Research works to develop a complex description of the research problem. The investigator should not try to identify a cause-effect type relationship between two or more factors, but rather should try to establish a complex cause and relationship between different elements.
Continuous data analysis
The researcher can analyze as well as draw conclusions, and based on the result of the research process is modified.
Intentional selection of participants
Therefore, the selection of participants is an important stage of qualitative research, unlike quantitative research, in which participants are chosen randomly.
pop up design
A unique feature of it is its new design. This means that a qualitative research method can remain the same as the researcher decided on at the beginning of the research process. The investigation process changes at each stage of the investigation. Sometimes the change in the research process changes when the researcher begins to collect data for the research problem.
This can lead to difference in the methods being used for research and sometimes the research problem is altered into a completely new research problem. Therefore, the researcher must be prepared to change the entire research process at any time or phase of it.
The main objective of qualitative research methods is not to determine a quantitative answer, but to be able to establish an understanding of the problem and to know it in detail.
Methods used in qualitative research
Conducting in-depth interviews is one of the most common qualitative research methods. This is a personal interview that is conducted with one respondent at a time. It is a purely conversational method and allows for in-depth details of the respondent.
One of the advantages of this method is that it offers a great opportunity to collect accurate data on what people believe and what their motivations are. If the investigator is experienced, asking the right questions can help you collect meaningful data. If more information is needed, investigators should ask follow-up questions to help them gather more information.
These interviews can be conducted face-to-face or over the phone and can typically last from half an hour to two hours or more. When the in-depth interview is done face-to-face, you have a better chance of reading the respondents’ body language and getting the answers right.
Focus groups or discussion groups
Focus groups are also one of the most widely used qualitative research methods in data collection. A focus group typically includes a limited number of respondents (6-10) from your target market.
The main objective of the focus group is to find answers to the questions “why”, “what” and “how”. One of the advantages of focus groups is that you do not need to interact with the group in person. Today, focus groups can send a survey online on multiple devices and responses can be collected with a single click.
Focus groups are an expensive method compared to other online qualitative research methods. They are normally used to explain complex processes. This method is very useful when it comes to market research on new products and testing new concepts.
This method uses existing reliable documents and similar sources of information as a data source. These data can be used in further research. It is similar to going to a library. There you can review books and other reference material to collect relevant data that can probably be used in the investigation.
Qualitative observation is a research process that uses subjective methodologies to collect information or systematic data. Since, the qualitative observation approach is the research process that uses subjective methodologies to collect information or data. Qualitative observation is mainly used to equate differences in quality.
Qualitative observation deals with the 5 main sensory organs and their functioning: sight, smell, touch, taste and hearing. It does not imply measurements or numbers, but characteristics.
Ethnographic research is the most in-depth method of observation that studies people in their natural environment.
This method requires researchers to adapt to the environment of the target audience, which can be from an organization to a city or any remote location. In this case, geographical limitations can be a problem when collecting data.
This research design aims to understand the cultures, challenges, motivations and environments that exist. Instead of relying on interviews and discussions, the natural environment is experienced first hand.
This type of research method can last anywhere from a few days to a few years, as it involves in-depth observation and data collection on those grounds. It is a difficult and time-consuming method, and relies solely on the experience of the researcher to be able to analyze, observe, and infer the data.
Case Study Research
This type of research method is used in various areas such as education, social sciences and the like. This method may seem unwieldy, however it is one of the easiest ways to conduct research as it involves a deep dive and comprehensive knowledge of data collection and inference methods.