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Types of

Types of Qualitative Research
Patton (1996), Denzin & Lincoln (1994) and
Merriam (1999):
Grounded theory - Historical
Ethnography - Action research
Phenomenology - Content analysis
Field research - Generic qualitative
Case study method
Grounded theory
Grounded theory is an inductive process
of generating theory from data or a
bottom-up processing
It does not rely on priori assumption about
the world
The research detect pattern in their
observation and then create working
hypothesis that lead the progression of
Ethnography emphasizes the observation
of details of everyday life as they naturally
unfold in the real world. This is sometimes
called naturalistic research.
Ethnography is a method of describing a
culture or society. This is primarily used in
anthropological research which focuses
on community.
Field research
Field researcher goes directly to the
social phenomenon under study and
observes it as completely as possible.
The natural environment is the priority of
the field researcher. There are no
implemented controls or experimental
conditions to speak of.
Such methodologies are especially useful
in observing social phenomena over time.
Phenomenology is a school of thought that
emphasizes a focus on peoples subjective
experiences and interpretations of the world.
Phenomenological theorists argue that
objectivity is virtually impossible to ascertain,
so to compensate, one must view all research
from the perspective of the researcher.
Phenomenologists attempt to understand
those whom they observe from the subjects
Case study
Is a descriptive, exploratory or explanatory
analysis of a single case example of
Systematic collection and objective
evaluation of data related to past
occurrences in order to explain causes,
effects, or trends of these events in the
present and anticipate future events.
Action research
Action research is inquiry or research in
the context of focused efforts to improve
the quality of practice
it is typically designed and conducted by
practitioners who analyse the data to
improve their own practice
Content analysis
Content analysis is used to analyse the
presence, meanings and relationships of
words and concepts in a text
then make inferences about the
messages within the texts, the writer(s),
the audience, and even the culture and
time of which these are a part
The generic qualitative method
It does not have a guiding set of
philosophic assumptions in the form of
one of the established qualitative
General components of
Qualitative design
The goal of qualitative research
1. It seek the depth rather than the breadth: instead of
drawing from large, representative sample of
population, qualitative research seek to acquire in
depth and intimate information about smaller group
of person.
2. To learn about how and why people behave, think
and make meaning as they do rather than focusing
on what people do or believe in a large scale.
3. The goal falls within the context of discovery rather
than verification
What topic are good for
qualitative research?
Exploratory research questions
Topics and peoples in natural settings
Data: written or spoken words and
Research question for qualitative
Maxwell (2005): 3 categories:
1. Question about meaning, how people
make sense of the world
2. Question that illuminate context
3. Question that investigate processes
Research question for qualitative
Marshal & Rossman (2006)
1. Exploratory question: investigate
phenomenon that is little understood
2. Explanatory question: explain a phenomenon
3. Descriptive questions: Describe a
4. Emancipatory question: which are meant to
engage in social action around a
In qualitative research, the sample is small
and not chosen randomly. Rather, the
choice of a sample is purposeful (Patton,
Methods for Data collection
1. Open-ended questionnaire
2. Unstructured interview/ developmental
3. informal conversational
4. focus group discussion
5. Participant observation
6. Diary accounts
7. Recording and transcribing
The researcher being the main instrument
of data collection responsive to the
situation and is able to adapt to the
changing conditions
Interview guide
Observation sheet
Research diary
Data analysis
Qualitative research adopts the inductive
no hypotheses are put forward to guide
it begins by observing phenomena and
continues of find patterns in the form of
themes, categories, concepts and
typologies that emerge.
Tentative hypothesis are introduced
The inductive approach
The role of researcher
You must physically go to the people, location,
setting or site
You do not manipulate the situation, but rather
watch naturally occurring events and not
controlling them, i.e. qualitative research is
naturalistic (Guba, & Lincoln, 1994).
Triangulation of sources,
Trianguation of methods of data collection
(survey, interview, feedback verification)
Triangulation of theories.
Search for discrepant evidence.
Comparison with other findings in the
previous research
In qualitative research, you are not as
concerned about generalisation of your
Actually generalization is a cooperative
venture of researcher and reader.
The researcher describes the context fully
and the reader decides if the context is
similar or is representative of his or her
Strength and weaknesses
- Depth of understanding
- Flexibility

- Subjectivity
- Suggestive, not definitive
- Limited generalizability
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