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Posted on May 2nd, 2014, by

Qualitative research

Naoum (2007: 40) states that qualitative research is ”˜subjective’ in its nature. It is focused on meanings, descriptions, experiences and similar techniques. According to Shank (2002:5), qualitative research represents ”˜ a form of systematic empirical inquiry into meaning, while Strauss and Corbin as cited in Golafshani (2003:600) define qualitative research as ”˜any kind of research that produces findings not arrived at by means of statistical procedures or other means of quantification’. This kind of research suggests findings that come from the ”˜real-world settings’ where the described or studied phenomenon exists. It means that researchers investigate things in their natural setting, trying to understand and to interpret them based on the meaning people bring to them (Lincoln, 2000:3). This type of research is aimed at basic understanding of the phenomenon.  The information which is provided by qualitative research can be classified either as exploratory or attitudinal.  The author explains that exploratory research may be applied in case there is a limited knowledge about the subject. It usually aims at clearing and stating the problem. The purposes of the research involve ”˜diagnosing a situation, screening alternatives and discovering new ideas (Naoum, 2007:40). Interview is usually selected as a technique for this research. Thus, the results of such research may include what the respondents said about the subject or the description of the phenomenon. Attitudinal research is applied in case it is necessary to get an idea about the ”˜opinion’, ”˜view’ or the ”˜perception’ of a person referring to a particular object.

Qualitative research tends to formulate the theory either in the course of the study, the last stage of the study or even after getting the results. The hypothesis may be the end product of the research.

Yin (2010:7) identifies 5 distinct features of qualitative research including studying the meaning of human lives in their natural setting, proving the views and perspectives of people in the investigation, integrating the study of the contextual circumstances of people’s life, providing insights for concepts and ideas that already exist or emerge to explain people’s social behaviour, using a variety or sources of information rather than relying on a single one.

Primary research

Mauk and Metz (2012:363) emphasize that primary research presupposes gathering information firsthand by the researcher. It may include observing sites, interviews with people or analysis of documents (VanderMey et al., 2011:441). It may also involve making observations, experiments and surveys. The researcher aims at gathering data and making conclusions afterwards. He collects data, analyses his experiments and their outcomes, gather views and insights by means of interviewing. Such approach allows being a participant of the process, experience events and avoiding interpretation which comes from other people.

Primary research presupposes working directly with people, things, surrounding. This type of research may be often conducted in the office, outside (e.g. natural habitat) or in a laboratory. In case of doing primary research for some company it may be necessary to cooperate with clients, customers or other people that may use the company’s service or products (Kolin, 2012:331).

Primary research can be useful in case of working on some local problem that has not been studied yet and there are no data to rely on in your investigation, when the paper focuses on studying a certain group of people or a specific person, in case the topic is quite new or original and there are only few publications related to the subject, when it is necessary to confirm/dispute the results provided by some global researcher with local trends (Purdue Online Writing Lab).

One of the types of primary research is interview which is a one-on-one or small group session of questioning and answering. Interviews may provide information from a small group of people in case an expert or knowledgeable opinion on the topic is necessary. Surveys represent another type of primary research which is a form of questioning involving larger groups of people. The results of this type of research will be a limited amount of information which comes from a large group of people representing their view or attitude to the studied problem. One more type of primary research is observations which presuppose taking organized noted about some events or occurrences which are being investigated. Observations may provide insights about specific people, locales or events. Such type of research may be useful in case it is necessary to avoid a biased opinion which is usually provided by an interview. Analysis represents one more type of primary research and presupposes gathering data and organizing the results one the way of the criteria necessary for the work. This type of research is useful in case it is necessary to find a trend or a pattern. The example of the research may be recording commercials on several major television networks and analysing gender roles (Purdue Online Writing Lab).

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