Qualitative Research Techniques
Although qualitative research can be used as part of formal or conclusive research, it is most commonly encountered when conducting exploratory research. Qualitative research techniques are part of primary research.
Qualitative research differs from quantitative research in the following ways:
- The data is usually gathered using less structured research instruments
- The findings are more in-depth since they make greater use of open-ended questions
- The results provide much more detail on behaviour, attitudes and motivation
- The research is more intensive and more flexible, allowing the researcher to probe since s/he has greater latitude to do so
- The results are based on smaller sample sizes and are often not representative of the population,
- The research can usually not be replicated or repeated, given it low reliability; and
- The analysis of the results is much more subjective.
Because of the nature of the interaction with respondents, the training and level of expertise required by the person engaging in the direct communication with the respondents must be quite high.
The most common qualitative research techniques include:
- In-depth interview
- Focus group
- Projective methods
- Case study
- Pilot study