Quality Research

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Qualitative research


Contents Introduction History Qualitative Research Qualitative Research Methods Phenomenology Ethnography Grounded Theory Case Study Biblography


Introduction Qualitative research is a method of inquiry employed in many different academic disciplines, traditionally in the social sciences, but also in market research and further contexts. Qualitative researchers aim to gather an in-depth understanding of human behavior and the reasons that govern such behavior.

Introduction Contd…..:

Introduction Contd….. The qualitative method investigates the why and how of decision making , not just what , where , when . Hence, smaller but focused samples are more often needed, rather than large samples. Qualitative methods produce information only on the particular cases studied, and any more general conclusions are only hypotheses (informative guesses). Quantitative methods can be used to verify which of such hypotheses are true.


History Until the 1970s, the phrase 'qualitative research' was used only to refer to a discipline of anthropology or sociology. During the 1970s and 1980s qualitative research began to be used in other disciplines, and became a significant type of research in the fields of education studies , social work studies, women's studies, disability studies, information studies, management studies, nursing service studies, political science, psychology, communication studies, and many other fields.

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In the last thirty years the acceptance of qualitative research by journal publishers and editors has been growing. Prior to that time many mainstream journals were prone to publish research articles based upon the natural sciences and which featured quantitative analysis.

Qualitative Meaning:

Qualitative Meaning Qualitative means a non-numerical data collection or explanation based on the attributes of the graph or source of data. For example, if you are asked to explain in qualitative terms a thermal image displayed in multiple colours, then you would explain the colour differences rather than the heat's numerical value.

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QUALITATIVE RESEARCH Research techniques that allow a researcher to obtain elaborate interpretations of market phenomena without depending on numerical measurements. Characteristics Uses small versus large samples. Emphasizes unstructured (broad range of) versus structured questioning methods. Involves subjective interpretation rather than “objective” statistical inference; is researcher-dependent. Has an exploratory purpose rather than descriptive and conclusive.

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Qualitative methods Phenomenology - originating in philosophy and psychology. Ethnographic studies - origins in anthropology . Grounded Theory - originates from sociology. Case studies - roots in psychology and business research.

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Phenomenology Based on the ideas that: human experience is inherently subjective and determined by the context in which a person lives behavior is shaped by a person’s relationship with the environment in which s/he lives therefore the best way to understand this behavior is to understand the context in which the behavior occurs this engaging in a conversational interview with the subject Researcher may need to become part of the “group” to effectively study it.

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Phenomenology offers a way to study phenomena, something often neglected in the social science research. However, the literature on phenomenology can be thick, divergent, and not ‘methods’ oriented. Cont…….

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Conducting a Phenomenological Study Studying a phenomenon involves gathering, making sense of, and writing rich phenomenological descriptions. Descriptions are drawn from individuals through a dialogic process, and are then synthesised to offer a range of distinct possibilities for the experience of a particular phenomenon.

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Ethnography Methods of studying cultures through becoming highly active in the culture. Typically uses observation as a data collection tool, hence the term participant-observation. The observation can be human or mechanical; but is often purposeful, i.e. focusing on specific features of behaviors that are of interest to the study.

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Ethnographic studies offer : Thick descriptions of cultural groups. A methodological approach for exploring cultures, symbols, and norms. An acceptance of multiple realities. However, they often involve ‘immersion’, and all the problems thereof. Ethnographic researchers also need to manage their own subjectivities when understanding from the perspective of the researched.

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Conducting an Ethnographic Study Ethnographic studies involve: The selection of a cultural group. Data collection through multiple methods that often demand prolonged engagement and persistent observation. Analysis that demands a high level of reflexivity.

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Grounded Theory Inductive investigation process in which the researcher uses empirical evidence to develop a theory for explaining a given phenomenon. Researcher repeatedly poses questions about the observed evidence and uses the responses to develop a deeper explanation (theory). Particularly applicable in dynamic situations involving significant change – where new insights are needed to explain phenomena that have not been previously encountered.

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Conducting a Grounded Theory Study Studying involves gathering, making sense of, and writing rich descriptions. Descriptions are drawn from individuals through a dialogic process, and are then synthesised to offer a range of distinct possibilities for the theory.

Grounded Theory Process :

Grounded Theory Process It is a research method that operates almost in a reverse fashion from traditional research and at first may appear to be in contradiction of the scientific method. Rather than beginning by researching and developing a hypothesis , The first step is data collection, through a variety of methods. From the data collected, the key points are marked with a series of codes , which are extracted from the text.

Grounded Theory Process Contd…..:

Grounded Theory Process Contd….. The codes are grouped into similar concepts in order to make them more workable. From these concepts, categories are formed, which are the basis for the creation of a theory , or a reverse engineered hypothesis. This contradicts the traditional model of research, where the researcher chooses a theoretical framework, and only then applies this model to the studied phenomenon.

Case Studies:

20 Case Studies Case studies concentrate research efforts on one site While not necessarily representative, they can add to new knowledge through their ability to debunk theory, generate theory, and support existing theory.

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Case Studies Documented history of a particular person, group, organization, or event. This intense examination of one or a few situations typically: - Involves in-depth investigation and careful study. -Requires cooperation from the investigated subjects (cases). Case analyses are used to develop themes that can help explain a phenomenon. Used extensively in business research and teaching.

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Conducting Case Studies The process of doing case studies involves: Defining a case. Selecting a case or cases for study. Being open to a range of methodological. Approaches that can draw out meaning.

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