Types of Qualitative Research - Explained With Examples

types of qualitative research

Qualitative research is a type of research that helps researchers understand the "why" behind people's actions and decisions. Unlike quantitative research, which relies on numbers and statistics, qualitative research relies on words and in-depth interviews to gather data.

This type of research is often used in social science fields, such as sociology and psychology, to gain a better understanding of human behavior.

In this blog post, we'll take a closer look at different types of qualitative research and explore some examples of how it's been used in the past. So, if you're curious about qualitative research or simply want to learn more about it, read on!

What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research is a scientific way to understand the opinions of different people. This scientific research method uses open-ended conversations to obtain qualitative data.

This research involves collecting and analyzing data that is not numerical, such as audio, video, and text. On the other hand, quantitative research involves gathering and analyzing numerical data for statistical analysis.

Qualitative research is used to understand the main problem. Researchers use this type of research to understand things in the social sciences and humanities. Qualitative research is mostly used in anthropology, sociology, health sciences, history, and education.

There are different types of qualitative research designs or methods. You can learn more about them by reading further.

When to Use Qualitative Research

Qualitative research can be used for a variety for reasons, including:

  • Generating new ideas or products
  • Understanding your weaknesses and strengths
  • Studying your brand's product or service to improve marketing tactics
  • Collecting perception data about a company, product, or brand
  • Comprehending the behavior of buyers
  • Analyzing market segments, demographics, and customer groups.
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Types of Qualitative Research

Here is a detailed description of different types of qualitative research methods:

Phenomenological Method: This method is used to collect data about how someone experiences a specific event. Researchers use surveys, interviews, and observation to get information from participants. The best way for researchers to get in touch with their target audience is using social media platforms.

Ethnographic Model: Ethnographic research is a qualitative research method that involves studying people in cultures that are unfamiliar to them. The goal is to describe the characteristics of culture as anthropologists analyze the motivations and cultural challenges that drive a group.

Grounded Theory Method: This theory method focuses on a lot of people. The model is based on what we know about genetics, psychology, and biology. Organizations use grounded theory when they want to know why customers use their products or services.

Case Study Model: This model provides a detailed look into a single test subject. The subject can be a person, business, family, city, town, or organization. Information from different sources is gathered and put together to come up with a conclusion about the subject.

For example, businesses often use case studies when promoting a product to new customers. This is done to show how their business solutions address an issue for any type of customer.

Historical Model: This qualitative research method is used to help understand events that have already happened. This model starts with a theory and then uses resources to check if it matches what happened. This research is used to answer questions.

Narrative Model: The narrative research model gathers data over a period of time as it happens. This means that the researcher observes and collects data from the beginning and then analyzes it as events happen.

However, the final narrative should not always remain in sequential order. Instead, organizations utilize the narrative strategy to characterize purchaser personas and distinguish innovations that attract a particular target market.

However, the final narrative should not always remain in chronological order. Instead, organizations utilize the narrative strategy to characterize different types of purchasers. Also, it distinguishes innovations that attract a particular target market.

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Qualitative Research Methods

Different types of qualitative research methods are explained in detail below:

  • In-depth Interview: This is the most commonly used qualitative research method. It involves conducting in-depth interviews and having a casual conversation with a single person to collect information about a certain topic or issue.
  • Focus Groups: Focus groups are groups of people who share a common characteristic, such as being from the target market. A discussion is held among these people about a specific topic. This method is used by social scientists to analyze an event or trend within a community.
  • Direct Observation: This research method is based on the five senses of humans - smell, hear, sight, taste, and touch. It uses subjective techniques such as direct observation. It means researchers pay attention to what people do without them knowing that they are being studied.
  • Open-Ended Surveys: These surveys with questions (structured or unstructured) are used to collect data and information. The answers to these questions will help us understand the respondents' beliefs and opinions.
  • Participant Observation: This method is similar to direct observation. However, the researcher participates in the events as well. This technique helps researchers understand people by giving them direct experience in a natural setting.
  • Literature Review: This method understands social life by looking at the images and words in a published work. The researcher analyzes how the words are used and draw possible meanings and conclusions from them.
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Data Collection and Analysis in Qualitative Research

The qualitative data collection method gathers non-numerical data. This type of data is usually collected in the form of transcripts, videos, surveys, interviews, and audio. The following are the steps involved in the qualitative data analysis:

  • 1. Organize the Information: Transcribe interviews or make detailed notes.
  • 2. Analyze the Data: Review the data, ideas, and patterns.
  • 3. Create a Data Coding System: Create codes to classify your data.
  • 4. Code the Data: Generate codes to incorporate them into your system.
  • 5. Identify Themes: Link codes in cohesive themes.
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Types of Qualitative Research Questions

Following are different types of qualitative research questions:

  • Exploratory Questions: This type of question is used to figure out something without changing the results based on your previous ideas. For example, asking about how someone uses a product or what someone thinks about a topic are two types of exploratory questions.
  • Predictive Questions: These questions aim to predict how someone will behave or react in the future. For example, a question about how a consumer might behave in a certain situation is a predictive question.
  • Interpretive Questions: These questions help collect feedback about a certain concept or topic. They do not change the results. For example, testing novel product ideas and comprehending how messaging claims are decoded are both types of questions under this category.
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Qualitative Research Methods vs. Quantitative Research Methods

There are two types of scientific research methods for user experience research: qualitative research vs. quantitative research. Qualitative research and quantitative research differ in the following ways:

  • Analytical objectives
  • Types of questions inquired
  • Types of data collection tools
  • Types of data produced
  • Flexibility
Characteristics Qualitative research methods Quantitative research methods
Analytical objectives Aims to describe individual beliefs and experiences. Aims to describe the features of a population.
Types of questions inquired Open-ended Closed-ended
Data collection tools Semi-structured methods such as focus groups and participant observation. Highly structured methods using surveys and questions.
Types of data produced Descriptive Numerical
Flexibility Researchers’ next questions depend on the participants’ responses to previous questions. Participants’ responses do not affect the questions asked by researchers.

It is important to understand the major differences between qualitative and quantitative research before conducting your research. Remember that qualitative research does not just identify the issue but also provides potential solutions.

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Qualitative Research Examples

Here are some examples of the types of qualitative research papers:

Qualitative Research Example

Qualitative Research Example

Qualitative Research Paper Sample

Qualitative Research Paper Sample

Qualitative research involves the collection of people's thoughts, feelings, and experiences. However, not everyone knows how to use the right method to write a qualitative research paper.

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