What Is Qualitative Research?

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When compared to quantitative studies, qualitative studies may be viewed by some as a weaker research approach because data collection is not based on formulas and mathematical equations (Fontes & Piercy, 2000, p.175). Rather, data is collected in a more personal way, through observations, interview questions, documents, and audiovisual information. Participants in the study do not have to be random, rather they can be hand picked by the researcher for specific purposes. Qualitative research provides researchers a way to understand individual perspectives and develop in-depth understandings. Many guidelines are outlined in chapters 7 and 8 (Creswell, 2015, p. 203-264) to ensure researchers employ scientific measures to ensure quality qualitative …show more content…
Researchers must identify the participants, gain permission to access the site, collect data through interviews, observations, and documents, record the data, and anticipate ethical issues (Creswell, 2015, p. 204). Many of these steps are also performed in quantitative research, but in different ways. For example, qualitative researchers can target participants they wish to sample rather than use random sampling in quantitative research. This allows researchers to gain in depth explorations of their targeted population (Creswell, 2015, p. 204-205). Data collection between qualitative and quantitative research also vary greatly. In order to obtain individual perspectives, qualitative researchers rely on observations, interviews, open ended questionnaires, and other forms of personal data collection. Unlike quantitative data, qualitative researchers are less interested in obtaining large amount of random sampled data. “In qualitative research, you pose general, broad questions to participants and allow them to share their views relatively unconstrained by your (the researcher 's) perspective” (Creswell, 2015, p. 211). Lastly, qualitative researchers must use protocols to record the data to ensure quality control. This requires recording information on self designed protocols (Creswell, 2015, p. …show more content…
“These steps are not always in sequence” and include, preparing and organizing the data, coding the data, finding themes through coding, represent findings through visuals and narratives, making interpretations and personally reflecting, and conducting strategies to validate the findings (Creswell, 2015, p. 236). Qualitative research “involves a simultaneous process of analyzing while you are collecting the data” this differs from the quantitative approach in “which data collection occurs first, followed by data analysis” (Creswell, 2015, p.237). The qualitative approach allows researchers to discover ideas as they emerge from the data. Qualitative researchers will also code the data and identify themes. Coding the data helps researchers sort important data and discard data that does not provide the needed thematic evidence (Creswell, 2015, p. 242). Many times qualitative researcher will represent their findings visually and report their findings in a narrative discussion and interpret their finding through personal reflection (Creswell, 2015, p.252-257). Literature comparisons are also included in the interpretation and researchers take measures to validate the research in similar ways as quantitative

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