Qualitative Research Methods: A Data Collector’s Field Guide (Mack et al 2005) present practical information on qualitative data collection methods. I found this guide very informative, easy to understand, plain and easy to use for collecting data in qualitative research in the field. This guide provides step by step instructions to conduct qualitative research by choosing the most suitable method for that particular situation. This guide enabled me to successfully conduct my interview assignment for qualitative research course.
Mack et al (2005) states “the three most common qualitative methods, participant observation, in-depth interviews, and focus groups and explained the situations where these methods are particularly suited for obtaining a specific type of data, e.g.;
• Participant observation is appropriate for collecting data on naturally occurring behaviours in their usual contexts.
• In-depth interviews are optimal for collecting data on individuals’ personal histories, perspectives,
and experiences, particularly when sensitive topics are being explored.
• Focus groups are effective in eliciting data on the cultural norms of a group and in generating broad overviews of issues of concern to the cultural groups or subgroups represented.”
Field notes, audio/ video recordings, and transcripts are the different types of data obtained from the qualitative methods discussed above. Open-ended questions and probing questions enabled the researcher to get more in depth information from the participants. While sample is the representation of the whole population by a small group which is chosen randomly or by certain criteria to estimate characteristics of the whole population. The objectives of our research question along with “the study’s research objectives and the diversity and size of the population decide which and how many people to select. Purposive sampling, quota sampling, and snowball sampling are the three most important sampling methods used to collect data in the qualitative research. Recruitment is the conversation which takes place between an investigator and a potential participant prior to the initiation of the consent process. It depends upon the type and number of data collection activities in the study and by the characteristics of the study population. It is subject to change if new topics, research questions, or subpopulations emerge during our data collection as consider by the researcher.
While conducting qualitative research the researcher should always keep in mind the principles of research ethics. The main principles of research ethics are respect for persons, beneficence and justice. Informed consent is very important before starting the research process and it is one of the ways for ensuring respect for persons during research.
The purpose of the participant observation research method in qualitative studies is to gain a close and intimate familiarity with the research...