Qualitative Research Methods

Topics: Qualitative research, Scientific method, Grounded theory Pages: 41 (13337 words) Published: October 11, 2012
Question 1
Compare and contrast the following qualitative research methods: case study, phenomenological, and grounded theory. Synthesize the findings and determine which is best suited to a study on your potential dissertation topic. Analyze the issues associated with sample selection, validity, and bias in such a study.

Qualitative Research Methods
It is common for researchers to compare qualitative and quantitative research methods. Quantitative methods originate from positivist and post- positivist research paradigms. Also, the methods objectively examine statistical data to determine cause and affect and often use generalizable data. There are various methods used in quantitative research such as surveys, experiments, statistical analysis, and numerical modeling (Myers 1997; Creswell 2003). Therefore, such a researcher gains knowledge through the use of hypotheses, measurement, and observation. In contrast, the focus of qualitative research methods is on relativistic and constructivist ontology that suggest a lack of objective reality (Lythcott & Duschl, 1990). In some ways, participants construct realities by imposing their experiences on social and cultural phenomena. There are five types of qualitative research methods: case study, ethnography, phenomenology, grounded theory, and narrative research. These methods allow researchers to gather an in-depth understanding of social and cultural phenomena using inquiry tactics to determine the why, when, where, what, and how of the study. The qualitative inquiry is subject to the participant’s interpretations of the occurrences through observation and in-depth interviews. The purpose of this paper is to compare and contrast three of the five qualitative research methods: case study, phenomenological, and grounded theory. According to Merriam (1998), the research methods are similar in their quest for understanding and meaning, data collection and analysis, the use of surveys, an inductive orientation analysis, and findings that are descriptive. In contrast, there are differences in qualitative research terms: disciplinary orientation (ethnography, phenomenology); function (grounded theory); form (case study, basic qualitative study). In conclusion, since this researcher’s potential dissertation topic is on women in leadership, the objective of this research is to evaluate case study, phenomenological, and grounded theory. In effort to better understand the challenges women in leadership face in climbing the corporate ladder; this researcher selected the phenomenological method for conducting the research. Then, the plan is to synthesize the findings, and in conclusion, analyze the issues associated with sample selection, validity, and bias as they pertain to women in leadership. Qualitative Research Methods

There are three research methods: qualitative, quantitative, or mixed method to execute a study. According to Creswell (2009), the differences between these research methodologies are as follows: qualitative research collects descriptive and narrative data intentionally to understanding the perspective of the study. Also, it uses observation and unstructured interviews to explore the topic broadly. Quantitative research collects data and numerically codes and statistically analyzes it to determine the findings of the study. Also, it uses experiments, surveys and measurements to determine results. Last, mixed methodology research uses both qualitative and quantitative approaches to research the topic.

Although, a researcher can use quantitative or mixed research for a study on women in leadership, and achieve significant analytical findings. The option chosen for this study is to employ a qualitative research methodology. According to Jones, Kriflik, and Zanko (2005), qualitative research methodology focuses on the human experience as it relates to social and cultural phenomena. Therefore, this study will examine...
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