What is Qualitative
Research?
What is Qualitative Research?
What are you curious about?
What questions do you have about your
area of study?
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Research: the notion of inquiring into, or
investigating something in a systematic
manner
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
2 Categories of Research:
1. Basic: motivated by intellectual interest
in a phenomenon and has as its goal the
extension of knowledge
- to know more about the topic
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
2 Categories of Research:
2. Applied: undertaken to improve the
quality of practice of a particular
discipline
- improve the way things are done
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Models: overall framework for how we
look at reality
- what reality is like & its basic elements
- nature and status of knowledge
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Concept: clearly defined set of ideas
deriving from a particular model
- ways of looking at the world to help
define the research problem
- filing cabinet
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Theories: arranged set of concepts to define
and explain some phenomenon
- contain plausible relationships
- provides a footing for considering the
world
- basis for considering how the unknown
may be organized
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Hypothesis: a proposition(s) set forth as an
explanation for the occurrence of some
specified group of phenomena
- directly tested
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
Methodology: specific means of studying a topic,
gathering data, and analysis of that data
- contain:
1. preference for certain methods
2. theory of scientific knowledge
3. range of solutions
4. systematic sequence of procedural steps
What is Qualitative Research?
 Key Terms
2 Types of Research:
Qualitative and Quantitative
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Quantitative Research: the systematic
empirical investigation of quantitative
properties and phenomena and their
relationships.
a. Objective is to develop and employ
mathematical models, theories and/or
hypothesis pertaining to the topic being
examined
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Quantitative Research:
b. Measurement process is crucial
- provides the fundamental
connection between empirical
observation and mathematical
expression of quantitative
relationships
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Qualitative Research:
To seize upon the interpretations people place on
existence and to synthesize them so they are
more readily available to us. This is a process of
making large claims from small matters:
studying particular rituals, poems, plays,
conversations, songs, dances, theories, and
myths and gingerly reaching out to the full
relations within a culture or a total way of life.
James Carey (1975)
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Qualitative Research:
Generic term for investigative
methodologies described as
ethnographic, naturalistic,
anthropological, field, or participant
observer research.
- Emphasizes the importance of looking
at variables in the natural setting in
which they are found. Interaction
between variables is important.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Qualitative Research:
- Detailed data is gathered through open
ended questions that provide direct
quotations.
- The interviewer is an integral part of
the investigation
(Jacob, 1988)
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Qualitative Research:
Umbrella term covering an array of
interpretive techniques which seek to
describe, decode, translate, and otherwise
come to terms with the meaning, not the
frequency, of certain more or less naturally
occurring phenomenon in the social world
What is Qualitative Research?
 Defining
Qualitative Research:
- an attempt to understand the meaning
people of constructed /how people make
sense of their world
(Van Maanen, 1979, p. 520)
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
1. Purpose: Understanding - Seeks to
understand people’s interpretations.
2. Reality: Dynamic - Reality changes with
changes in people’s perceptions.
mutual simultaneous shaping: multiple
events occur to shape events/meaning
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
3. Viewpoint: Insider - Reality is what
people perceive it to be.
4. Values: Value bound - Values will have an
impact and should be understood and taken
into account when conducting and
reporting research.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
5. Focus: Holistic - A total or complete
picture is sought.
- cylinder
6. Orientation: Discovery - Theories and
hypotheses are evolved from data as
collected.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
7. Data: Subjective - Data are perceptions of
the people in the environment.
8. Instrumentation: Human - The human
person is the primary collection
instrument.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
9. Conditions: Naturalistic - Investigations
are conducted under natural conditions.
10. Results: Valid - The focus is on design
and procedures to gain "real," "rich," and
"deep" data.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Competencies:
1. A questioning stance with regard to your
work and life context
- Why are things the way they are?
2. High tolerance for ambiguity and
flexibility
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Competencies:
3. Being a careful observer
4. Asking good questions
5. Thinking inductively
- moving from raw data to categories
and concepts
6. Strong writing capabilities
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
Advantages:
1. Produces more in-depth, comprehensive
information.
2. Uses subjective information and participant
observation to describe the context, or natural
setting, of the variables under consideration, as
well as the interactions of the different variables
in the context. It seeks a wide understanding of
the entire situation.
What is Qualitative Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics:
Disadvantages
1. The very subjectivity of the inquiry leads to
difficulties in establishing the reliability and
validity of the approaches and information.
2. It is very difficult to prevent or detect researcher
induced bias.
3. Its scope is limited due to the in-depth, comprehensive
data gathering approaches required.
What is Qualitative
Research?
 Qualitative Research Characteristics
Qualitative research is all about exploring
issues, understanding phenomena, and
answering questions.
- Happens in nearly every workplace and
study environment, nearly every day.
What is Qualitative Research?
Multiple Focus Points
What people say
Mean, Need
Culture
or Desire
What people do
What is Qualitative Research?
 Difference b/t Qualitative & Quantitative
Where quantitative research which attempts to
gather data by objective methods to provide
information about relations, comparisons,
and predictions and attempts to remove the
investigator from the investigation, the
researcher is an integral part of qualitative
research.
(Smith, 1983)
What is Qualitative Research?
 Difference b/t Qualitative & Quantitative
Where quantitative research which attempts to gather
data by objective methods to provide information
about relations, comparisons, and predictions and
attempts to remove the investigator from the
investigation, the researcher is an integral part of
qualitative research.
(Smith, 1983)
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives
Paradigm: a framework for observation and
understanding that shapes what we see
and how we understand it
- accepted assumptions
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Paradigms
1. Can not be true or false
2. Cyclical in nature
3. Theories and methods
What is Qualitative Research?

Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Positivist:
1. Objective reality knowable only through
empirical observations
2. Generalizable laws
3. Study of variables
- Cause & effect relationships
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Positivist:
4.
Hypothesis (predictions)
5.
Quantifiable data
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Interpretive:
1. Understanding human behavior and meanings the
meanings in which they are embedded
2. No single reality – many factors
- Purposive meaning-making activities
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Interpretive:
3. Humans are individuals and behavior can not be
“pigeon-holed” or generalized
4. Unique explanations
5. Qualitative data
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Critical:
1. Goal is to challenge, transform, and empower
2. Reads interactions in terms of conflict and
oppression
3. Frame research questions in terms of power
What is Qualitative Research?
 Philosophical Perspectives & Paradigms
Postmodern:
1. Sees explanations of the way things are in the world
as myths or grand narratives
2. There is no single reality, but rather multiple truths
3. Celebrates diversity among people, ideas, and
institutions
What is Qualitative Research?
 Languages of Qualitative Research
1. Naturalism: seeks to minimize
presuppositions in order to witness
subjects’ worlds in their own terms
- focuses on the factual characteristics of
the object under study
What is Qualitative Research?
 Languages of Qualitative Research
2. Emotionalism: the primary issue is to
generate data that gives an authentic
insight into people’s experiences
- tend to favor open-ended interviews
- locates the “real” in real life
- concerned with authenticity
What is Qualitative Research?
 Languages of Qualitative Research
2. Ethnomethodology: the study of folks’
methods. Seeks to describe methods
persons use in constructing reality in
everyday life
- creates meaningful categories
- may lose sight of the topic due to focusing
too much on the process of creation
What is Qualitative Research?
 Languages of Qualitative Research
2. Postmodernism: interdisciplinary
movement based on the critique of all
concepts and paradigms
- analyzes and questions modern
achievements
- examines how we come to acknowledge
and accept “truths” as being true
What is Qualitative Research?
 Should I use qualitative methods?
See questions on page 11
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What is Qualitative Research?