The Use of Qualitative Research and Human Factor

Introduction

Research and the collection of data is one of the most important aspects of any respectable work. Through using various methods, useful information can be obtained to suit one’s needs and goals. There is a number of research methods devised to accomplish a certain set of goals. Research allows a specialist to understand a large amount of data and determine what factors are to be considered important. Choosing the right method is the main component of a successful paper, so the decision must be well-thought-out and supported primarily by the needs of the creator. Qualitative research allows one to obtain answers to broad questions. This method is used to collect data primarily through conversation and open-ended communication. The qualitative approach gives the researcher the ability to answer problems that do not behave on a binary scale, opening up more possibilities for analysis. The basic principles of qualitative research are deeply rooted in social sciences, namely psychology, sociology, and anthropology. This type of research gives one the ability to reach an understanding of their respondents’ thoughts and values. Qualitative research focuses on analyzing the information shared through language and non-verbal communication in a casual setting. This approach can fill in the gaps left by other types of research and provide a wider context for the beliefs of a person. The opportunity to understand the thought patterns and processes of individuals gives greater insight into many different issues and possible approaches to problem resolution. Qualitative research aids in forming hypophyses that serve as the basis of research and development. The central focus of this piece is the analysis of qualitative research, its distinct approaches, and their uses, as well as the influence of the human factor.

The Design and Components of Qualitative Research

When speaking about qualitative research, it is crucial to define and discuss its design and main components. There is a number of principles that this type of data collection must adhere to, the features that complete its design. First of all, all data must have credibility. That means the expected outcomes of the research must be true within the limitations of the method (Roller, 2020). The best way to ensure the trustworthiness of qualitative research is to employ interview techniques that give enough time for the interviewees to be thoroughly questioned. This aspect is especially important to consider since it provides insurance that the results of the study are accurate and can be representative of bigger trends. Another important factor in qualitative research is transparency. Providing transparency means clearly stating which factors of the data collection and processing impacted the end result, and in what specific ways (Roller, 2020). Being transparent is crucial to gaining a good understanding of the research and forming correct conclusions (Roller, 2020). The third quality of good qualitative research is its usefulness. The collection and processing of information serve as a middle step to a specific goal, meaning that it must be useful and innovative. The main purpose of any piece of research is to move the conversation forward and provide the researcher with an opportunity to form new conclusions and insights, assisting in the acquisition of new knowledge. At last, the qualitative research must be structured in an easy-to-analyze way. This quality ensures that the research is organized and conducted in the most efficient manner possible, and its examination can provide the researcher with meaningful analysis (Roller, 2020). All of the traits described above comprise the essence of qualitative research, and their absence can reduce its effectiveness and usability immensely.

The components of qualitative research are, as mentioned previously, another important topic of discussion. First of all, the purpose of the research must be established. Purpose determines the general goal of the research, the questions that need to be answered, and the issues that the researcher intends to bring up (Qualitative research, 2005). Having a clear purpose helps to decide on the possible approaches and methods of interview, as well as to not get distracted. The next component is constructing a theoretical framework of operation (Qualitative research, 2005). This part of the project helps to understand the conceptual background of the issues the researcher attempts to study. Having a theoretical backing can aid in choosing the sources, and experiences that inform the other parts of the study. The next component of effective qualitative research is the research questions. Formulating the research questions is necessary to focus the study on a particular outcome, and to get a better understanding of what needs to be learned (Qualitative research, 2005). The methods of research are an integral part of qualitative research, as they determine the exact approaches and techniques used to collect data. Methods mostly depend on one’s goals and available resources, as well as the desired outcome of the study. The ability to choose what information to study, and which events are considered important is one of the more difficult aspects of this component. The last component of the research is its validity. This point is mainly concerned with the truthfulness of one’s conclusion and the explanations for observed events (Qualitative research, 2005). This step is the final part of conducting one’s research and applying its results effectively.

The Researcher’s Role in Qualitative Research

The researcher’s role in qualitative research is hard to understate. In other types of data collection, the researcher’s role is traditionally small, as he is only responsible for documenting and arranging the data. In quantitative research, for example, all participants act and express their views without intervention or consideration for the interviewer’s thoughts. As the other research approaches present the data in an independent manner, the subjectivity and the bias of the results are reduced to a minimum. While this method is useful for collecting large amounts of data and drawing a generalized conclusion, it does not offer deeper insight into the thoughts of individuals. In the qualitative method, however, the researcher serves as the main instrument of data collection and interpretation. The questions are not binary and often cannot be answered in a clear-cut manner, resulting in a large amount of data that needs to be formatted. The information is collected through an open conversation, and the researcher themselves decides which parts are important for a study, and which are not. All of the gathered information passes through the human lens and is understood accordingly. This approach gives a different perspective on collecting data, making the researcher consider how their personal views and beliefs contribute to their understanding of information. In this case, individual bias plays a large role in this kind of approach, as the experiences of the person analyzing the information have a significant impact on the results of the study. This can bring both positive and negative consequences, allowing for far broader research of any topic, with an inherent danger of misrepresentation of claims.

Qualitative Research Data Collection

In the case of qualitative research, data collection itself is a nuanced task that is worth exploring. Some methods of data collection are used more frequently than others, because of the advantages they present in their respective fields. First, one-on-one interviews, as this type of data collection is the most common. Comprised of a personal interview, this approach allows one to gain a better understanding of an individual’s perspective and motivations. The interview usually consists of a series of questions, that are designed to collect meaningful data from individual respondents (Question Pro, 2020). The interviews themselves can be conducted in person or on the phone and can last 30 minutes or more. The advantage of a face-to-face dialogue is the ability to observe and read non-verbal communicators, such as body language.

In qualitative research, focus groups are also a commonly used way to conduct research. A focus group includes a certain number of respondents that are within the target group of one’s research (Question Pro, 2020). The main goals of this approach are the same as with one-on-one interviews, but they need to interact with the group in person is avoided. This method helps to analyze large amounts of data and make needed conclusions.

Another research method that is employed in qualitative research is ethnographic research. This method allows one to study a person or a group of people in their natural setting. This type of data collection allows the researcher to get a glimpse into the culture, lifestyle, and specific challenges, of a particular group (Question Pro, 2020). It allows the interviewer to not only learn the new information but to experience it themselves. This research method, however, presents its specific difficulties, including a rather large time span and a high entry point for inexperienced researchers.

The last, case study method, developed somewhat recently, is used within specific areas of expertise, including education and social sciences. This approach involves exploring a particular person, group, system, or event, over a fixed period of time (Question Pro, 2020). The advantage of this type of research is the ability to condense a large amount of data into an easy-to-understand and analyze the form. The data is gathered by using a wide variety of methods, with the goal of examining old or inventing new potential approaches to arising problems.

Conclusion

In conclusion, the peculiarities of the qualitative approach to research were discussed. Qualitative research, which is applied to derive nuanced conclusions uses various methods of communication. Each way of conducting research has its own peculiarities that make it better suited for accomplishing particular goals and present its own challenges in implementation. The qualitative approach allows for more personal bias and researcher interference but offers a more complete picture in return. Qualitative research employs various tactics of gathering information, each suited for its own purpose. Some of them are more suited for a single person and based on asking questions, some are better used on large amounts of people, and employ various surveying methods. Overall, qualitative research allows one to gather data that is often missed otherwise and offers a more detailed approach to their study.

References

Qualitative research (2005). Qualitative research design. Web.

Question Pro. (2020). Qualitative research: Definition, types, methods and examples. Web.

Roller, M. R. (2020). Four components of the quality framework for qualitative research design. Research design review. Web.

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