Nova A.
Nova A.

Qualitative Research - Types, Methods & Examples

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Published on: May 31, 2021

Last updated on: Jan 3, 2023

Qualitative Research Method

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There are two methods for conducting scientific research. These include qualitative and quantitative research methods. Nevertheless, it is not easy to identify the differences between them.

In recent times, qualitative research methods are preferably used while writing a research paper. This blog will get a detailed guide of qualitative research, its types, and methods. Continue reading and get a better understanding with the help of examples.

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What is Qualitative Research?

Qualitative research involves collecting and analyzing non-numeric data. It is used to gather data and information through open-ended questions.

It is commonly used in health sciences, social sciences, history, and education subjects. Moreover, this research method is used to study things and dive deeper into the problem.

The researchers share the background and the purpose of the research with the participants in qualitative research. Moreover, the results that are extracted from the research are detailed and descriptive.

Many people do not know the differences between quantitative and qualitative research. In quantitative studies, the writer quantifies the problem by collecting statistical analysis data from different sources.

Characteristics of Qualitative Research

Here are the main characteristics of qualitative research.

  • Real-World Setting

    It is the main characteristic of qualitative research, where numerous methods are used. Each method has its importance and is used for different purposes in natural settings.

    These include interviews, observation, focus groups, discussion, and a case study. Some researchers use more than one method to get the best results. Furthermore, the conclusion is drawn based on the answers and the behavior of the people.

  • Complex Reasoning

    Qualitative research is best for complex reasoning. In some situations, the researcher requires it to get the results rather than direct answers.

  • Flexible

    Qualitative research is flexible, and the researcher can change it at any time of the study. It is mainly used in scenarios where the flexible nature of research is sustainable.

  • Holistic

    Such type of research is used to develop a broader picture of the issue. Moreover, the researcher focuses on multiple perspectives and identifies many factors involved.

  • Role of Participant

    Here, the role of the participant is important. Different purposes of the research are observed according to the varying perspectives of participants.

Advantages of Qualitative Research

The following are the advantages of qualitative research.

  • It uses a small sample size to collect data.
  • It includes human experience and observation.
  • It provides in-depth detail of the subject.
  • The researcher collects data in original or natural conditions.
  • This type of research is a more flexible approach.
  • It is an open-ended process.
  • It provides more content to the marketing team.

Disadvantages of Qualitative Research

Below are some disadvantages of qualitative research.

  • It can require multiple sessions.
  • It is a time-consuming process.
  • It can be challenging to verify the results of qualitative research.
  • It is difficult to present the collected data.
  • The quality of the data is highly subjective.
  • During the research, the unseen data can disappear.

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Qualitative Research Methods

The following are the six main qualitative research methods. They are commonly used in governmental models, business, and education

  1. Process of Observation

    With direct observation, the researcher studies people by interacting with the stranger in public. It is a process of research that includes subjective methodologies to collect structured data. This method equates to the quality differences of a product.

    Furthermore, qualitative research deals with five major sensory organs of a human being, i.e., sight, smell, touch, hear, and taste. However, it does not include numbers or measurements but is based on characteristics.

  2. Focus Groups

    This qualitative research method is commonly used in data collection. It is useful in eliciting data from the fixed number of respondents within your target market research.

    In this method, the researcher finds answers to research questions. However, this method does not require interacting with the person. Instead, you can easily collect responses from different people through online surveys.

  3. In-depth Interview

    Conducting a detailed and personal interview is a common type of qualitative research. In-depth interviews are semi-structured. This method is entirely casual and informal to gather information about a topic or an issue.

    The interview method aims to collect data about what people believe and what their motivations are. A researcher asks the right questions and gathers meaningful data, rather than wasting time and asking irrelevant questions. Lastly, such interviews can be conducted face to face, or via email, or by phone.

  4. Participant Observation

    The participant observation method is used to collect data about people, processes, and cultures. This method is used in many disciplines, such as sociology, human geography, and social psychology. It is a widely used methodology and similar to direct observation.

  5. Literature Review

    The literature review is the best method to analyze how the problem is being addressed and draw possible meanings. It describes in the form of theoretical or methodological reviews.

  6. Open-ended Surveys

    Open-ended questions are used in qualitative research and exploratory studies. These surveys are based on structured or unstructured questions. Here, the respondent answers in open text format that will help in knowing his beliefs.

Types of Qualitative Research

The following are the six most frequently qualitative research types:

  1. Ethnography

    Ethnography is a widely used type of qualitative research. In this method, you have to embed yourself in the environment of the target audience. It will help you understand the subject by studying and interacting with them.

    Moreover, it is similar to cultural ethnographic research. The main aim of this research type is to learn and describe the culture’s characteristics.

  2. Narrative

    Narrative research typically takes a sequence of events. It is similar to a story narrative. Here, you have to start with a subject and review different situations or opportunities. However, it does not follow the sequential order.

  3. Historical

    In this method, you have to answer the questions based on the imagined ideas and use resources to test the idea.

  4. Grounded Theory

    The grounded theory method explains the essence of an event or activity by providing the reasons behind it. Theoretical models are built on existing documents of genetic and biological science.

    Moreover, it helps in conducting satisfaction surveys that show why consumers use company products.

  5. Case Study

    The case study method is a valuable research method. This method is used to explain an organization or an entity. Furthermore, it involves a thorough understanding of the data through different types of data sources.

  6. Phenomenological Method

    The phenomenological method focuses on describing an event or an activity. Here, interviews are mainly used to understand the meaning of people’s lives and explore what they experienced.

Qualitative vs. Quantitative Research

Before undertaking any research, you must understand the difference between qualitative and quantitative research methods.

When a researcher undertakes a research project, they are often confused and unaware of their differences. Both these methods are interrelated and can be used in the research to get results.

Quantitative data is structured and statistical and is used to draw general conclusions from the research. In contrast, qualitative research is behavioral research-based on non-numerical data. It mainly describes the qualities or characteristics.

The following are the main differences between qualitative vs. quantitative research.

Qualitative Research Examples

Have a look at the below-given example to get a better understanding of this research type.

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Qualitative Research Topics

Here is a list of qualitative research topics for you to write a perfect paper.

  • The effects of contemporary teaching methods
  • The role of discipline in education and its impact on the process of learning
  • The function of technology in lesson planning
  • The difference between different styles of media
  • Importance of marketing in the new generation
  • Promote your business with new marketing strategies
  • How phobias affect your personality?
  • Favorite color as a result of childhood attraction
  • Mental health effects of failed relationships
  • Factors that influence your motivation

Writing a good qualitative research paper needs proper time and research. If you don't have much time and need professional help in qualitative data analysis. The best option is to consult

The expert writers have an idea about using qualitative research tools while writing a paper or a college essay. Thus, contact us and place your order now to get a well-written academic assignment.

Nova A.


Nova A. (Literature, Marketing)

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

As a Digital Content Strategist, Nova Allison has eight years of experience in writing both technical and scientific content. With a focus on developing online content plans that engage audiences, Nova strives to write pieces that are not only informative but captivating as well.

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