This will be a discussion of qualitative research. It will define qualitative research, as well as look at the similarities and differences in the quantitative and qualitative research paradigms. Furthermore, this discussion will look into qualitative case study research and phenomenological research, with further contemplation of purposes, methods, and limitations for these two methods.
Qualitative research is concerned with understanding people’s many layers of envisioned reality. It is observation of the human practice, descriptive in manner, with careful, detailed factual description of people, objects and action. Viewed in a nonpositivism style, those who look at research in this manner believe all that is important and cannot be measured as in quantitative, concrete measurement. They believe there is an interaction between researcher and participant that has to be accounted for. This being said, experiments cannot be reproduced from one environment to another because the conditions are different, the context of the situation changes and interactions cannot be the same for different researchers and participants (Long, 2014a).
Qualitative and quantitative research have many differences. Qualitative is exploratory, interpretive, subjective, descriptive, emergent, looks to produce or reach a hypothesis by what is observed, has unknown variables, is flexible, and uses personal views. Qualitative research is confirmatory, predictive, objective, deduces and test the hypothesis, has known variables, is not flexible, but is a fixed, static designed to control variables, and tries to be bias-free. Qualitative research collects data through interviews, observation, surveys, review of artifacts, and self inquiry. Quantitative research measures data through physical tests for assessments, observation, surveys, review of artifacts, and patient records. Qualitative research subject choice is a small, purposeful sampling, or multiple case studies. Quantitative research subject choice is random selection and random assignment or a representative, large sample style (Kapitan, 2010). Qualitative research approaches data analysis through inductive means using coding, pattern matching, and explanation building, interpreting the data beyond what the participants themselves intended or even understood (Carolan, 2001). Quantitative research approaches data analysis through deductive means using computations, statistical analysis, rating skills, coding, and time series analysis. Qualitative research looks to triangulation data collection for validity while quantitative research relies on probability, rigor and generalizability of data collected.
Though there are such differences between the two, there is one point I would like to make. We need to see that no two perspectives will ever be exactly the same, no matter the context. When the circumstances change, so will the outcome, and the circumstances will never be repeated exactly; there...