What is Qualitative Research?
Qualitative research is a process of inquiry that seeks an in-depth understanding of a phenomenon within their natural settings. Qualitative research focuses on “why” rather than “what”! It helps collect data that is not numerical. It relies on data collection methods that are more communication based rather than logical or statistical procedures.
The major areas of focus are individuals, societies, and cultures. The common assumption in this research method is that the knowledge is subjective rather than objective. The researcher learns from the participants in this method and attempts to maintain a stance of neutrality while collecting data from them.
Difference between Qualitative Research and Quantitative Research
As explained earlier these two market research methods are based on different ideologies. Qualitative research is a not numerical research on the other hand quantitative research is based on numbers. But that’s not it! There are some distinct differences between these two research methods that are tabulated below:
|Qualitative Research||Quantitative Research|
|Qualitative Research is primarily exploratory in nature. This research method is used to gain an understanding of underlying reasons, opinions, and motivations.||Quantitative Research is used to quantify the problem by generating numerical data or data that can be transformed into a stable statistical information.|
|This research method provides insights and helps develop ideas and hypotheses.||Quantitative Research uses measurable data to formulate facts and uncover patterns in research|
|Qualitative data collection methods vary using unstructured or semi-structured techniques||Quantitative data collection methods are essentially based on numbers and statistics.|
|The sample size is usually small for qualitative market research as the data collection method is based on personal interaction.||The sample size in quantitative research is bigger as compared to qualitative research and uses online surveys, mobile surveys to collect data from the participants.|
Learn more: Quantitative Research Vs Qualitative Research
4 Characteristics of Qualitative Research
- Natural setting: Qualitative researchers often collect data in the field at the site where participants experience the issues or problem under study. This research method doesn’t change the natural settings of the sample instead the researchers have a face-to-face interaction over time.
- Multiple methods: Qualitative researchers typically gather multiple forms of data, such as interviews, observations, and documents, rather than rely on a single data source. The documents are reviewed and the data collected is organized accordingly.
- Complex reasoning: This research method involves complex reasoning and uses a “bottom-up” approach to collect data where the researchers go back and forth while collecting information and data from the participants.
- Participant’s meaning: In the entire qualitative research process, the researchers keep a focus on learning the meaning that the participants hold about the problem or issue. The participant meanings further suggest their perspective and views.
Learn more: Qualitative research methods