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Instructor: Dr. Ghazanfari
Presented by: Hamid Gittan
8 Types of Qualitative Research
to be Discussed
Basic qualitative studies/interpretive research
Case study research
Grounded Theory research
Basic Qualitative Studies
Also called basic interpretative studies. provide
rich descriptive accounts targeted to
understanding a phenomenon, a process,
or a particular point of view from the perspective of
They describe and attempt to interpret experience
the researcher is interested in understanding the
meaning a phenomenon has for those involved.
The central purpose of these studies is to
understand the world or the experience of another.
Studies The underlying question the researcher asks is
“How are events, processes, and activities are
perceived by participants.
Basic interpretive studies are somewhat
simplistic compared to other qualitative
They are not restricted to a particular
phenomenon as in the case studies.
They don’t seek to explain sociocultural aspects
as in ethnography.
They don’t seek to enter the subject’s conceptual
world to explain the “essence” as in
They don’t seek to define theory as in the
grounded theory research .
They don’t convey life stories through narrative
analysis, delve into history, or focus analyzing
content. These studies are, as the name
implies, basic. They describe and attempt to
They are the most common qualitative studies,
used in a variety f disciplines including
Has its roots in the social sciences
Describes and interprets a phenomenon or process
Seeks to understand participants’ point of view
Identifies recurrent patterns or themes
Can be based on a variety of disciplinary lenses
May use a variety of data collection techniques
Basic qualitative research can be found throughout
the other types of qualitative research
The focus of all qualitative research is on how
meaning is constructed, how people make sense of
their lives and their worlds
The goal of Basic Qualitative research is to uncover and
interpret the meanings
Summary of Basic Qualitative Research
May draw from diverse theoretical orientation
Many beginning qualitative researchers conduct basic interpretive studies.
Such questions as “How did teachers feel about the new curriculum?” or
“What instructional strategies do students think are engaging and why?”
might be answered in a basic qualitative study using interviewing or focus
group techniques. For example, a researcher might interview students at
various high school grade levels about their experiences in the classroom
to try and understand their perceptions on instructional techniques. By
searching for themes and patterns in the data, the researcher could
attempt to answer the question about which strategies appear to engage
the students. Or the researcher could videotape or conduct in-person
observations of high school classrooms to answer this question.
Emerging from approaches in business, law, and medicine. The case study
provides an in-depth description of a single unit. The “unit” can be an individual, a
group, a site, a class, a policy, a program, a process, an institution, or a community.
It is a single occurrence of something that the researcher is interested in
The question is “what are the characteristics of this particular entity,
phenomenon, person, or setting”
Has multidisciplinary roots (business, law, medicine)
Focuses on a single unit
Produces an in-depth description
Is anchored in real life
Uses multiple data collection techniques
Provides a rich, holistic description of context, issue
Time spent examining the “unit” is important
The greatest advantage of a case study is the possibility of depth; it seeks
to understand the whole case in the totality of the environment. Not only the
present actions of an individual but also his or her past, environment,
emotions, and thoughts can be probed. The researcher tries to determine
why an individual behaves as he or she does and not merely to record
Case studies often provide an opportunity for an investigator to develop
insight into basic aspects of human behavior.
However, case studies need not be limited to the study of individuals. Case
studies are made of communities, institutions, and groups of individuals. A
classic case study of a community was Lynd and Lynd’s Middletown (1929),
which described life in Muncie, Indiana, a typical average-size Midwestern
city. This first study was followed by Middletown in Transition in 1937.
Another classic was Hollingshead’s Elmtown’s Youth (1949), which studied
the life of adolescents in a small Illinois community.
Institutions such as schools, churches, colleges, fraternal organization, and
businesses have been the focus of case studies. Case studies have been
made of groups of individuals such as gays, drug addicts, delinquents,
street gangs, migratory workers, CEOs, medical students, teachers, and
The intrinsic case study is conducted to understand
a particular case that may be unusual, unique, or
different in some way. It does not necessarily
represent other cases or a broader trait or problem
An instrumental case study, the researcher selects
the case because it represents some other issue
under investigation and the researcher believes this
particular case can help provide insights or help to
understand that issue.
The multiple or collective case study uses several
cases selected to further understand and
investigate a phenomenon, population, or general
condition. The researcher believes that the
phenomenon is not idiosyncratic to a single unit and
studying multiple units can provide better
Three types of case studies
Case study may employ multiple methods of data
collection and don’t rely on a single technique.
Review of documents
Other methods may be used
Types of designs
1) Single case- holistic (extreme or unique case)
2) Single case-embedded
3) Multiple – holistic (literal or theoretical
4) Multiple –embedded
Content analysis focuses on the characteristics of materials and ask
“What meaning is reflected in these materials?
Has its roots in communication studies
Uses analysis of written or visual materials
Describes the characteristics of the materials
Can be quantitative and qualitative
The materials analyzed can be textbooks,
newspapers, web pages, social network sites
twitter feeds, blogs, virtual worlds, speeches,
television programs, advertisements, musical
compositions, or any of a host of other types of
Widely used in education .
Content analysis applied to written or visual materials
for the purpose of identifying specified characteristics of
materials. The materials such as (textbooks, newspapers,
web pages, social network sites, twitter feeds, blogs, virtual
worlds, speeches, television programs, advertisement, musical
Some purposes of content analysis:
1.To identify bias, prejudice, or propaganda in
2. To analyze types of errors in students’ writings.
3. To describe prevailing practices.
4. To discover the level of difficulty of material in
textbooks or other publications.
5. To discover the relative importance of, or interest in,
Purposes of Content Analysis in
looks directly at communication via
texts or transcripts, and hence gets
at the central aspect of social
can allow for both quantitative and
can provides valuable
historical/cultural insights over time
through analysis of texts
•allows a closeness to text which can
alternate between specific
categories and relationships and also
statistically analyzes the coded form of
•can be used to interpret texts for
purposes such as the development of
•is an unobtrusive means of analyzing
interactions( the presence of the obsever
does not influence what I being obseved
Types of Content
An emergent design framework
A quantitative research framework
Content analysis can be done in
is its unobtrusiveness. The presence of the
observer does not influence what is being
observed. You do not need to enlist the
cooperation of subjects or get permission to
do the study.
Another advantage of content analyses is that
they are easily replicated. Readers interested
in further information on content analysis
should read Krippendorf’s (2012)and Schreier
An advantage of content analysis
It is very time consuming and is subject to
It is dependent on interpretation of the text
There is also no theoretical base in order to
create meaningful inferences and relationships
between the text.
This methodology can be extremely difficult to
automate or computerize.
Content analysis can be slow and time-
consuming. Fortunately, computers can now
carry out a content analysis quickly and
Disadvantages of content analysis
“What are the cultural patterns and
perspectives of this group in its natural
setting?” is the underlying question addressed in
ethnography. Ethnographic studies
Has its roots in anthropology
Studies the naturally occurring behavior of a group
Focuses on culture and social behavior
Describes beliefs, values, and attitudes of a group
Observation is the primary data collection tool
Immersion in the site is important
Provides a holistic description of context and cultural
Must understand the culture (in order to
do that one must spend time in the
group being studied)
Must immerse one’s self the
group/culture being studied
Interviews, analysis of documents, records,
and artifacts, fieldwork diary entries, ideas,
impressions, and insights in regard to those
Ethnography is the in-depth study of naturally occurring
behavior within a culture or entire social group. It seeks
to understand the relationship between culture and
behavior, with culture referring to the shared beliefs,
values, concepts, practices, and attitudes of a specific
group of people. It examines
what people do and interprets why they do it.
What are the meanings of these human actions and
interactions within this context?
Ethnographers’Data collection techniques:
fieldwork as data collecting strategies.
sometime used in-depth interviewing
The ethnographic research method was developed by
anthropologists such as Margaret Mead as a way of
studying and describing human cultures.
The ethnographer undertakes the study without
any a priori hypotheses to avoid predetermining
what is observed or what information is elicited
from informants. The ethnographer explores and
tests hypotheses, but the hypotheses evolve out of
the fieldwork itself. Ethnographer refers to the
people from whom they gather information as
informants rather than participants, and they
study sites rather than individuals. The term
ethnography is used to refer to both the work of
studying a culture and also the end product of the
Spindler and Hammond (2000) describe some of the
characteristics of good ethnography: (1) extended
participant observation; (2) long time at the site; (3)
collection of large volumes of materials such as
notes, artifacts, audio, and videotapes; and (4)
openness, which means having no specific
hypotheses or even highly specific categories of
observation at the start of the study
As in any studies, a variety of data collection techniques
may be used as part of the ethnographic study.
Common means of collecting data include
interviewing, document analysis, participant
observations, research diaries, and life stories. It is
not the data collection techniques that determine
whether the study is ethnography but rather the
“socio-cultural interpretation that sets apart from
other forms of qualitative inquiry. Ethnography is not
defined by how data are collected, but by the lens
through which the data are interpreted (Merriam &
Ethnographic Designs are qualitative research
procedures for describing, analyzing, and interpreting
a culture-sharing group’s shared patterns of behavior,
beliefs, and language that develop over time. To
understand the patterns of a culture-sharing group,
the ethnographer typically spends considerable time in
the field interviewing, observing, and gathering
documents about the group in order to understand
their culture-sharing behaviors, beliefs, and language.
Cresswell (2007) describes two approaches to
Realist ethnography is a popular approach used by
cultural anthropologists. It is an objective account of
the situation, typically written in the third person point
of view, reporting objectively on the information
learned from participants at a field site. The
researcher’s interpretation occurs at the end.
TYPES OF ETHNOGRAPHIC
The realist ethnographer narrates the study in a third-person
dispassionate voice and reports on observations of participants
and their views. The ethnographer does not offer
personal reflections in the research report and remains in the
background as an omniscient reporter of the facts.
The researcher reports objective data in a measured style
uncontained by personal bias, political goals, and judgment.
The researcher may provide mundane details of everyday life
among the people studied. The ethnographer also uses
standard categories for cultural description (family, work life,
social networks, and status systems).
• The ethnographer produces the participants’ view through
closely edited quotations and has the final word on the
interpretation and presentation of the culture. (Van Maanen,
the researcher takes an advocacy perspective
and has a value-laden orientation. The researcher
is advocating for a marginalized group,
challenging the status quo, or attempting to
empower the group by giving it voice.
The main advantage is its observation of
behavior in a real-life setting, the assumption
being than human behavior can fully understand
only by knowing the setting in which it occurs.
The main limitation is that the findings depend
heavily on the particular researcher’s
observations and interpretations of the data
Ethnographer typically spend a long time
observing participants and collect a large
volumes of material(notes, artifacts, audio and
Advantages and Disadvantages of
Types of Ethnographic studies
Autoethnography ( a self–examination within a
Ethnographic case studies( a case study within a
Critical Ethnography ( a study of marginalized
Feminist ethnography( the study of women and
Postmodern ethnography( a study of particular
challenges or problems of society).
Has its roots in sociology
Its goal is to inductively build a theory about a practice or
Is “grounded” in the real world
Is a cyclical process of building a tentative theory and
testing it against the data
Interviews and observation are the primary data collection
Typically involves observations and interviews with multiple
participants or settings
Uses a coding process that ends in description and
presentation of theory and propositions
Documentary materials (letters, speeches, etc.) and
literature can also be potential data sources.
Grounded Theory Studies
Glaser and Strauss (1967) developed grounded
theory as a way of formalizing the operations
needed to develop theory from empirical data. This
research approach focuses on gathering data about
peoples’ experiences in a particular context and then
inductively building a theory “from the bottom up.
Grounded theory moves beyond description to
generate or discover a theory that emerges from
the data and that provides an explanation of a
process, action, or interaction.
Grounded theory studies of sociological nature
have focused on victims of Alzheimer’s disease
and how families accommodate to the different
stages, drug addiction in women, chronic illness,
Data Collection Procedures
Data may be collected by interview and observation(
as the primary data collection tools) , records, or a
In the role of as the primary data-gathering instrument , the
researcher asks questions about some event, experience, or social
phenomenon .the personal open-ended interview is the primary
Data collection usually results in large amounts of hand-written
notes, typed interview transcripts, or video/audio taped
conversations that contain multiple pieces of data to be sorted
and analyzed. This process is initiated by coding and categorizing
Open coding It deals with labeling and categorizing
phenomenon in the data. It uses the comparative method. Data
are broken down by asking what, where, how, when, how much,
etc. Similar incidents are grouped together and given the same
conceptual label. Concepts are grouped together into categories.
The purpose is to develop core concepts, categories, and
Axial coding It is designed to put data back together that were
broken apart in open coding. It develops connections between a
category and its subcategories (not between discrete
categories). It’s purpose is to develop main categories and
Selective coding It shows the connections between the discrete
categories. Categories that have been developed to build the
theoretical framework are integrated. It’s purpose is to bring the
categories together into an overall theory.
Description of Coding Types Used in Grounded Theory Studies
Historical studies are oriented to the past rather than to
the present and thus use different data collection methods
from those used in other qualitative approaches.
included in qualitative research because of its emphasis
on interpretation and its use of nonnumeric data.
Attempt to establish facts and arrive at conclusions
concerning the past.
The historian systematically locates, evaluates, and
interprets evidence from which people can learn about
the past. Based on the evidence gathered, conclusions
are drawn regarding the past so as to increase
knowledge of how and why past events occurred and
the process by which the past became the present. The
desired result is increased understanding of the present
and a more rational basis for making choices.
Although historians have no choice concerning what documents, relics, records,
and artifacts survive the passage of time, they do have some limited control over
what questions they will ask of these sources and what measures they will apply
When interviewing witnesses of past events and when searching the historical
record, researchers can decide what questions to ask and what is to be
measured. They can measure only those things that witnesses remember or the
In descriptive and experimental research, investigators can attempt to control
sampling; that is, they can decide for themselves whom they are going to study.
Historians can study only those people for whom records and artifacts survive.
If newspapers ignore a particular segment of a community and no other sources
for that community exist, then historians cannot directly assess the contributions
that a particular segment of a population made to that community.
Another limitation impinging on historical researchers is that no assumption
about the past can be made merely because no record can be found, nor can it
be assumed, on the contrary, that a conspiracy of silence has distorted the
The historians classifies materials as:
Primary Sources: first-hand or eyewitness observations
of phenomenon Source material closest to the
person/information/period/idea being studied . Primary
sources are original documents (correspondence, diaries,
reports, etc.), relics, remains, or artifacts. These are the
direct outcomes of events or the records of participants.
Secondary Sources: second-hand observation, i.e. the
author collected the data from eyewitnesses Document
relating to information presented elsewhere
Two ideas that have proved useful in evaluating historical sources
are the concepts of external (or lower) criticism and internal (or
External Criticism asks if the evidence under consideration is
authentic and, depending on the nature of the study, may
involve such techniques as authentication of signatures,
chemical analysis of paint, or carbon dating of artifacts.
The Historical investigator proceeds to internal criticism,
which requires evaluating the worth of the evidence, for
instance, whether a document provides a true report of an
EXTERNAL AND INTERNAL CRITICISM
Narrative research has its roots in different
humanities disciplines and focuses on stories (spoken
or written) told by individuals about their lives. The
researcher emphasizes sequence and chronology and a
collaborative re-storying process. The key question is,
“What is the story and its meaning as told through this
person’s experience?” The researcher seeks to
understand the lived experience of an individual or
small group. A narrative can be any text or discourse.
Narrative research provides accounts of human
experiences by collecting and analyzing stories about
lives. The stories are accounts of events and actions
chronologically connected. Narrative research
Use of stories as data, and more specifically
first-person accounts of experience told in story
form having a beginning, middle and end
Other terms for these “stories”= biographies, life
history, oral history, autoethnography, and
First-person accounts of experiences constitute the
narrative “text” which is then analyzed for the meaning
by the author
Hermeneutic philosophy (the study of written
texts) is often cited as informing narrative
Focuses on the interpretation/meaning in stories, and
other texts. In order to make sense and interpret the
○ Important in gathering the meaning intended to be
communicated by the author (allows the text/document
to be placed in an accurate historical/cultural reference)
Narrative analysis may be approached through a
biographical lens, a psychological lens, or a
linguistic lens. The narrative typically tells the
story of an individual in the chronology of
experience; is set within a personal, social, and
historical context; and includes important themes
in the lived experience (Creswell, 2007,p. 57).
The Narrative Analysis
Data in narrative research come from
primary sources (direct participant recollection)
secondary sources (documents written by the
Data may be gathered via such methods as
interviews with the individual or family members of
Data may be gathered from written records such
as diaries, journals, letters, blogs, created artifacts, e-
mail exchanges, memos, photographs, memory
boxes, audio recordings, story writing, or other
personal, family, or social artifacts.
Thursday, February 16, 2017 46
Phenomenological study is designed to describe and interpret
an experience by determining the meaning of the experience as
perceived by the people who have participated in it.
The key question is “What is the experience of an activity or
concept from the perspective of particular participants?”
The key question Rooted in philosophy and psychology, the
assumption is that there are many ways of interpreting the same
experience and that the meaning of the experience to each
person is what constitutes reality. This belief is characteristic of all
qualitative studies, but the element that distinguishes
Qualitative phenomenological research is to describe a "lived
experience" of a phenomenon.
The central research question aims to determine the essence of the
experience as “perceived by the participant”.
Interviewing multiple individuals is the typical
data collection approach.
Interview data are typically from those who have
experienced the phenomena.
Other data sources may be used , including
observations, art, poetry, music, journals,
drama, films, social network sites, blogs ,and
Phenomenology is based
The assumption that there is an essence or
essences to shared experience. These essences are
the core meanings mutually understood through a
phenomenon commonly experienced. The
experiences of different people are bracketed,
analyzed, and compared to identify the essences of
the phenomenon, for example, the essence of
loneliness, the essence of being a mother, or the
essence of being a participant in a particular
program. The assumption of essence, like the
ethnographer’s that culture exists and is important,
becomes the defining characteristic of a purely
phenomenological study. (Patton. 2002.pg 106)
The phenomenologists are “interested in
showing how complex meanings are built out
of simple units of direct experience”(Merriam
and associates 2002,p,7).
Depict the essence or basic structure of
- including experiences such as love, anger, betrayal,
Prior to interviewing, those who have had
experience with the phenomenon usually explores
his/her own experiences in order to examine the
dimensions of the phenomenon and to be aware
of one’s own personal prejudices, viewpoints and
assumptions (in order to set them aside)
The Phenomenological Researcher’s
A composite description that presents
the essence of the phenomenon
(essential, invariant structure)
The researcher should come away from
the experience thinking ‘I understand
better what it is like for someone to
The first principle of analysis of phenomenological data is
to use an emergent strategy, to allow the method of analysis
to follow the nature of the data itself. Steps,
Explore your own experiences & set aside your
Bracket judgments and everyday understandings in
order to examine consciousness itself
Phenomenological reduction: revisiting the experience
to derive the inner structure/meaning in and of itself
Horizonalization analysis is conducted by identifying
significant statements or quote and from those quote
developing clusters of meaning and themes.
Thursday, February 16, 2017 52
Textural description is used to illuminate what
Structural description illuminates the context
that influenced the experience, how it was
experienced, and in what conditions and
Composition description is written that conveys
the overall essence of the phenomenon. Also
called the essential or invariant structure.
Thursday, February 16, 2017 53
Portraiture is a form of qualitative research that seeks to join
science and art in an attempt to describe complex human
experiences within an organizational culture.The goal of a
portraiture is a vivid portrayal that reflects meaning from the
perspectives of both the participants and the researchers.
Data can be collected using in-depth interviews and
Critical research seeks to empower change through
examining and critiquing assumptions. Questions focus on
power relationships and the influence of race, class, and
gender. The purpose of critical research is to critique and
challenge the status quo. Critical research may analyze texts
or artifacts (such as films) or other communication forms
(such as drama or dance).
Semiotics and discourse analysis study linguistic units to
examine the relationship between words and their meanings.
Other types of qualitative
Data-collection of strategies of semiotics focus on
recorded dialogue-in text form, or , audio /video.
Arts-based research has recently emerged as a
qualitative method.Leavy in her 2009 work
describes various approaches to arts-based
research and explain how it differs from other
quantitative and qualitative methods. leavy
discusses several arts-based methods including
fiction-based approaches, poetry, performance
research including ethnodrama and ethnotheater,
musical portraiture ,dance narratives, and visual
arts including technology-based visual arts. Rather
than numbers or words, art-based researchers use
stories, image, sounds, senses, and other sensory
approaches to present the research data.