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Qualitative Research  

Last Updated: Apr 22, 2013 URL: http://beckerguides.wustl.edu/qualitative Print Guide RSS Updates

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PubMed: Qualitative Research

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About Qualitative Research

Qualitative research seeks out the ‘why’, not the ‘how’ of its topic through the analysis of unstructured information – things like interview transcripts and recordings, emails, notes, feedback forms, photos and videos. (From QSR International.)

Qualitative data analysis (QDA) is the range of processes and procedures whereby we move from the qualitative data that have been collected into some form of explanation, understanding or interpretation of the people and situations we are investigating. (From Online QDA.)

Qualitative vs. quantitative research (from Xavier University Library).

Using Qualitative Research

In general, consider qualitative research when:

  • You are in the exploratory stages of research, developing theory.
  • You need to investigate irregularities.
  • You need to examine policy implementation.
  • You want to collect people's viewpoints.
  • The research question is not suitable for traditional surveys or experiments (e.g., suicide, sexual identity).
  • You need to learn meaning.

(Adapted from Price and Brown & Lloyd, Advances in Psychiatric Treatment (2001) 7:350-6.)

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Will Olmstadt
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