One of the most important aspects of successful research studies is the selection of the right methodology. There are normally two options open to you when concerned with the research methodology. One is qualitative research, and the other is quantitative research methodology. The nature of qualitative research is different from the one mentioned later. However, in today’s article, we will only talk about the qualitative research methodology, its nature, characteristics, strengths, and weaknesses. Before that, let’s start the topic by defining qualitative research first.
What is meant by qualitative research methodology?
There is not a single universally accepted definition of qualitative research. However, it is known to every researcher that qualitative research involves dealing with non-numeric data or data consisting of numbers, expressions, and statements. However, a comprehensive definition of the nature of qualitative research is as follows:
“The research studies that investigate the quality of relationships, activities, situations, and materials are qualitative in nature.” Fraenkal (2007).
The qualitative research methodology is mainly described by its aims and methodology. Most of the time, the method of observation is used to perform this research. Observation means studying the research subjects in their natural setting.
What is the nature of qualitative research?
After discussing the definition of qualitative research, now let’s take a look at its nature. This research methodology is a statistical technique that is very much focused on developing explanations of different phenomena. Those phenomena can be social, behavioral, or psychological, based on the subject of the research. Further, qualitative research has a non-positivist perspective or nature. It emphasises more on describing the general properties of the subject under study. Hence, it is the nature of qualitative research.
What are the characteristics of qualitative research?
After learning about the nature of qualitative research, let’s learn the characteristics of qualitative research in detail. The following are some of the most prominent properties of this research methodology:
- The source of the data is the natural setting in which the issue is being faced. The qualitative research methodology does not change the environment of the participants.
- The researcher is the key instrument in qualitative research. He is the man who sets the research conditions, selects the participants, and collects data.
- The qualitative research methodology utilises multiple sources of data. It uses interviews, documentation, observations, etc.
- The data collected using this research methodology is qualitative. It means the data is non-numeric and consists of words, expressions, and statements.
Hence, these are the characteristics of qualitative research methodology. If you want to know more about it, you can ask for help from dissertation writing services.
Strengths and weaknesses of qualitative research methodology
Like every other research methodology, qualitative research also has its own strengths and weaknesses. Many researchers choose like nature of qualitative research because they have only heard about its strengths. However, for your information, this research methodology is also weak in some areas. A brief description of its strengths and weaknesses is as follows:
Strengths of qualitative research
- Qualitative research provides in-depth information on the subject area. Basically, it touches on each research component individually and provides individual explanations.
- It explains the complex phenomenon in a detailed manner. Sometimes, the local context of the problem makes it difficult for the researcher to unfold the situation. So, this local observational study helps him a lot.
- One of the most important strengths of this methodology is that it allows data collection in the natural environment of participants. The natural environment makes the data more reliable and valid.
- Another point that adds to its strength is that it permits approaches that are applicable to local conditions.
- As participants are everything in this research design, the nature of qualitative research is that it respects everything that is in the participants’ context.
Weaknesses of qualitative research
- The most annoying thing, or in decent words, the most prominent weakness of qualitative research, is that it is time-consuming. It takes too much time to collect the data from the participants.
- Qualitative data analysis is way more rigorous and challenging than its collection. First, you need to collect it, then clean it, then code it, and finally, the stage of analysis comes. So, this multiple stages analysis makes qualitative research a weaker option.
- The researcher’s bias is another added weakness of the qualitative research method. Often, the interpretations of the results obtained through qualitative data analysis are biased and give a reflection of the researcher’s own beliefs.
- The conclusions of qualitative research are not generalisable. The reason is that this research is focused on certain participants and only concludes those research respondents’ qualities.
Conclusively, the nature of qualitative research is explanatory. It explains the phenomenon and reveals very insightful data to help researchers draw meaningful conclusions. The strengths and weaknesses of this method are listed above. Although the strengths are more than the weaknesses, still this research methodology has some weaknesses. You must be aware of them.