So far we have discussed quantitative research and quantitative research design. We said that quantitative research is the type of research that collects numerical data. We have three main quantitative designs: we have Survey (which can either be Correlational, Longitudinal and Cross-Sectional), Ex Post Factor or causal Comparative Research and Experimental which can either be true or quasi. We have covered this in lesson 12-14.
In this lesson, we are going to discuss qualitative research. Qualitative research is different from quantitative because it collects data that is narrative, that is data that is in form of words, pictures and videos. This type of research is also carried out in the natural setting of the phenomena. It is from this unique type of research that in this lesson, we shall first discuss the characteristics of qualitative research. There are about 10 distinctive characteristics of qualitative research.
There are situations that call for qualitative research. For instance when you need to explore a context in depth. So this lesson has listed the areas that calls for qualitative research.
Issues of validity and reliability are difficult to measure in qualitative research. Quantitative researchers accuse qualitative researchers that their studies cannot be ‘believed’. This has forced the qualitative researchers to identify four criteria that ensures that their research work is trustworthy. This issue is well discussed in this lesson.
Qualitative research relies on different methods of data collection. This is referred to as triangulation. The four types of triangulation are discussed and finally the steps of conducting qualitative research. Remember that qualitative research plan is emergent therefore the steps are are not as prescribed as we have in quantitative research.