On qualitative inquiry

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Researchers can also take the role of participant observers, becoming actively involved in the setting they are observing and carefully recording both their observations and their own actions and interpretations of the setting. The data collected through observations are the carefully recorded notes which the researcher makes immediately after each observation, which may include descriptions, impressions, quotes, and even sketches when spatial aspects of the setting appear important.

Qualitative Inquiry

In-depth interviews are often conducted by researchers to guide individuals in sharing their perspectives on the phenomena of interest. Interviews can be highly structured based on a standard set of questions which the researcher asks of numerous individuals or more free-flowing like a conversation. When recording is not possible, researchers generally take brief notes during the interview and record more detailed impressions immediately following.

While in-depth interviews are useful for collecting the perspectives of individuals, focus group interviews are an excellent tool for uncovering how groups of similar individuals understand a particular phenomenon. A well-conducted focus group provides the opportunity for individuals to interact with one another and with the moderator to produce a shared narrative of the phenomenon of interest; this process can be an invaluable tool in understanding how the various perspectives shared through in-depth interviews fit together.

Like in-depth interviews, focus groups are commonly recorded and transcribed in order to capture the exact language used by the participants. Another broad category of qualitative analysis is content analysis. The goal of qualitative content analysis is to examine both the manifest content of an item — what is actually recorded or depicted — and the latent content.


Latent content refers to the subtle messages or meaning encoded in an item, such as the unspoken assumptions that give the content meaning in the social world. The qualitative approach is informed by inductive logic, in which potential understandings of a phenomenon are derived from the data. As such, hypotheses are formed following the collection and initial analysis of the data, at which point additional data are often collected to assess the hypotheses in an iterative process. Hypotheses in qualitative research often point to the role of contextual factors that influence the phenomenon of interest, seeking to distinguish why and how individuals with varying experiences understand the phenomenon differently.

Discuss the benefits of your study and how stakeholders can use your results. Also, note the limitations of your study and, if appropriate, place them in the context of areas in need of further research. Chenail, Ronald J. Introduction to Qualitative Research Design.

  • Qualitative Research Methods: Conversational Interviewing.
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  • Qualitative Research Definition and Methods;
  • An Overview of Qualitative Research Methods.
  • Qualitative Research: Definition, Types, Methods and Examples!

Nova Southeastern University; Heath, A. The Proposal in Qualitative Research. Leonard Bickman and Debra J. Rog, eds. Writing CSU. Qualitative Research from Start to Finish. New York: Guilford, The advantage of using qualitative methods is that they generate rich, detailed data that leave the participants' perspectives intact and provide multiple contexts for understanding the phenomenon under study.

  1. Characteristics of Qualitative Research;
  2. Qualitative Inquiry in Daily Life!
  3. Qualitative Inquiry | SAGE Publications Ltd!
  4. In this way, qualitative research can be used to vividly demonstrate phenomena or to conduct cross-case comparisons and analysis of individuals or groups. Among the specific strengths of using qualitative methods to study social science research problems is the ability to:. Anderson, Claire. It is very much true that most of the limitations you find in using qualitative research techniques also reflect their inherent strengths. For example, small sample sizes help you investigate research problems in a comprehensive and in-depth manner.

    Characteristics of Qualitative Research

    However, small sample sizes undermine opportunities to draw useful generalizations from, or to make broad policy recommendations based upon, the findings. Additionally, as the primary instrument of investigation, qualitative researchers are often imbedded in the cultures and experiences of others. However, cultural embeddedness increases the opportunity for bias generated from conscious or unconscious assumptions about the study setting to enter into the way data is gathered, interpreted, and reported.

    Some specific limitations associated with using qualitative methods to study research problems in the social sciences include the following:. Almost every socio-behavioral study requires you to submit your proposed research plan to an Institutional Review Board. The role of the Board is to evaluate your research proposal and determine whether it will be conducted ethically and under the regulations, institutional polices, and Code of Ethics set forth by the university. The purpose of the review is to protect the rights and welfare of individuals participating in your study.

    The review is intended to ensure equitable selection of respondants, that you have obtained adequate informed consent, that there is clear assessment and minimization of risks to participants and to the university [read: no lawsuits!


    Qualitative vs Quantitative Research | Simply Psychology

    SAGE publications is a major publisher of studies about how to design and conduct research in the social and behavioral sciences. The database also includes case studies outlining the research methods used in real research projects.

    • Penetration: The Question of Extraterrestrial and Human Telepathy.
    • Developing Qualitative Inquiry - Routledge.
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    This is an excellent source for finding definitions of key terms and descriptions of research design and practice, techniques of data gathering, analysis, and reporting, and information about theories of research [e. The database covers both qualitative and quantitative research methods as well as mixed methods approaches to conducting research.

    Contact us. Organizing Your Social Sciences Research Paper: Qualitative Methods This guide provides advice on how to develop and organize a research paper in the social and behavioral sciences. The Conclusion Toggle Dropdown Appendices Definition The word qualitative implies an emphasis on the qualities of entities and on processes and meanings that are not experimentally examined or measured [if measured at all] in terms of quantity, amount, intensity, or frequency.

    Characteristics of Qualitative Research Below are the three key elements that define a qualitative research study and the applied forms each take in the investigation of a research problem. The Design Naturalistic -- refers to studying real-world situations as they unfold naturally; nonmanipulative and noncontrolling; the researcher is open to whatever emerges [i.

    Purposeful -- cases for study [e. That is, they offer useful manifestations of the phenomenon of interest; sampling is aimed at insight about the phenomenon, not empirical generalization derived from a sample and applied to a population. Empathic neutrality -- an empathic stance in working with study respondents seeks vicarious understanding without judgment [neutrality] by showing openness, sensitivity, respect, awareness, and responsiveness; in observation, it means being fully present [mindfulness].

    Dynamic systems -- there is attention to process; assumes change is ongoing, whether the focus is on an individual, an organization, a community, or an entire culture, therefore, the researcher is mindful of and attentive to system and situational dynamics. The Analysis Unique case orientation -- assumes that each case is special and unique; the first level of analysis is being true to, respecting, and capturing the details of the individual cases being studied; cross-case analysis follows from and depends upon the quality of individual case studies.

    Inductive analysis -- immersion in the details and specifics of the data to discover important patterns, themes, and inter-relationships; begins by exploring, then confirming findings, guided by analytical principles rather than rules. Context sensitive -- places findings in a social, historical, and temporal context; researcher is careful about [even dubious of] the possibility or meaningfulness of generalizations across time and space; emphasizes careful comparative case analyses and extrapolating patterns for possible transferability and adaptation in new settings. Voice, perspective, and reflexivity -- the qualitative methodologist owns and is reflective about her or his own voice and perspective; a credible voice conveys authenticity and trustworthiness; complete objectivity being impossible and pure subjectivity undermining credibility, the researcher's focus reflects a balance between understanding and depicting the world authentically in all its complexity and of being self-analytical, politically aware, and reflexive in consciousness.

    Basic Research Design for Qualitative Studies Unlike positivist or experimental research that utilizes a linear and one-directional sequence of design steps, there is considerable variation in how a qualitative research study is organized. Strengths of Using Qualitative Methods The advantage of using qualitative methods is that they generate rich, detailed data that leave the participants' perspectives intact and provide multiple contexts for understanding the phenomenon under study.

    What is Qualitative Inquiry by Martyn Hammersley

    Among the specific strengths of using qualitative methods to study social science research problems is the ability to: Obtain a more realistic view of the lived world that cannot be understood or experienced in numerical data and statistical analysis; Provide the researcher with the perspective of the participants of the study through immersion in a culture or situation and as a result of direct interaction with them; Allow the researcher to describe existing phenomena and current situations; Develop flexible ways to perform data collection, subsequent analysis, and interpretation of collected information; Yield results that can be helpful in pioneering new ways of understanding; Respond to changes that occur while conducting the study ]e.

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