Qualitative research is becoming more widely valued and recognised in the health care research field. The importance of qualitative research was established in the early 20th Century as a form of inquiry for the study of human group life, particularly in the fields of sociology and anthropology. Qualitative research aims to generate further research and theories rather than to verify them. It relies on transforming information from observations, reports and recordings into data into the written word (rather than into numeric data in quantitative research). Qualitative research is useful for finding out information in areas where little information is known, or to study a particular concept in more detail. A qualitative research study usually involves fewer people or events in comparison to a quantitative research study. Qualitative research is about ‘discovery of facts’ and not necessarily hard evidence. Some studies, particularly anthropological studies, are located in a time and place and the findings may not be seen as generalisable but the findings may be transferable.
Types of Qualitative Research
There are several different methods used in qualitative research. Phenomenological research is a method used to establish the meaning of an event for people (e.g. pain, bereavement). Its main purpose is to find the out what the essence of the experience was. Data is usually collected via interviews, focus groups or written diaries. Grounded theory is the generation of theory from data. The researcher starts with a general research subject and builds their research question as they collect data allowing the research question to emerge and develop with the collection of the data at the same time as developing theory. Data collection maybe in the form of interviews, participant observation and documentation review. Ethnographic research involves placing specific encounters, events and understanding into
References: Smith, J.A. (2003). Qualitative Psychology; A Practical Guide to Research Methods. SAGE Publications Ltd. Denscombe, M. (1998) The Good Research Guide. Buckingham. Open University Press Norman K.Denzin, Yvonna S.Lincoln. (2000). Handbook of Qualitative Research. Sage publications Ltd. Silverman, D (2001) Interpreting Qualitative Data. Sage Publications. .Bowlling A (1998) Research Methods in Health Investigating Health and Health Services Milton Keynes Open University Press Hamilton, C.J.H. (2003). Writing Research Transforming data into text London Churchill Livingston Denscombe, M. (1998) The Good Research Guide. Buckingham. Open University Press. Education Centre, The Hillingdon Hospital. Tel: 01985 279021. Ext. 3021 Email: email@example.com Information sheet 15 For further information please contact the R&D office X 3021 March 2006 Education Centre, The Hillingdon Hospital. Tel: 01985 279021. Ext. 3021 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org