Qualitative research methodology Essay
Qualitative research methodology
Qualitative research looks at people with an objective to understand them, to interpret their information from the point of view of the subject being studied. It looks at themes or emerging patterns. Occasionally qualitative research uses a system known as the grounded theory which collects data first and then examines the data for the problems that it is looking for. Unlike a quantitative researcher a qualitative researcher could assume a partial position, and engage in the study himself.
It studies people in what could be considered a complex situation or environment. Researchers can actually put in their own structure, and could be involved in the research. Unlike quantitative research, qualitative research is not number intensive, it tends to focus on observation in order to understand important themes or patterns. It wants to build its own social realism with superimposed variables that are usually difficult to measure. The system is naturally inductive, and again focuses on multiplicity and complexity. ( Polit 1989). The researcher can get involved personally, and can use numerical information, but only minimally.
Qualitative research assumes that many realism can be present in a given situation, meaning that its acceptable for the researcher, the subjects being studied and maybe the audience to be part of the study. (Polit 1989). The researcher is actively involved with his study subjects, and actually tries to limit separation between him and subject of study as much as possible, because he sees the subjects as very valuable. He can actually verify his information by collecting information from various sources including informants. Qualitative research is use for such researches as descriptive research. It is used to develop hypothesis and to explain of illustrate the reports of quantitative research.
It is difficult to use quantitative research to show cause and effect relationships. Because qualitative research is often comprehensive and intense, their result are more holistic and could produce more insights. However it is not easy to replicate or duplicate qualitative research results, so it is rather difficult to use qualitative research results as an objective instrument. It could also be very expensive and as well as time consuming. They other types of qualitative research include ethnography, ethnomethodology, sociometry, and unobtrusive measures.
Because of the inability to use qualitative research as an objective source of valid research results, some have argued that using triangulation, or the use of many research sources to arrive at an objective answer as the solution. (Polit 1989). By combining more than one source of research, the result will be more accurate. So the effort really is in double checking one research application with another research application, in order to make sure that there is validity in the result that has been reported.
There are many types of triangulation research: Data triangulation uses many data sources , such interviews of many informants for one study. So instead of simply depending on one sample, it uses several samples during the study. Investigator triangulation uses more than one researcher in its research. It employs more than one person to collect the data, analyze the data, and to interpret the data. The theory triangulation uses more than one theoretical point of view or to interpret one research view point. The methodological triangulation uses many research methods in solving a research question. By using triangulation the researcher is seeking to give his research objective look, and validation.