What is qualitative research?
- Qualitative research seeks to understand an experience from the perspective of those who experience it, often through interviews or participant observations.
- There are many types of qualitative research, including ethnography, Grounded Theory, phenomenology, narrative inquiry, and qualitative descriptive. These approaches come from an interpretive paradigm, which aims to understand (or interpret) the world through the subjective experience of individuals.
- Qualitative research is exploratory and descriptive; it focuses on words/experiences versus numbers or trying to quantify something.
- Qualitative research focuses on meaning, not measurement.
Helpful Links, Videos and Online Courses
- Fundamentals of Qualitative Research Methods: What is Qualitative Research?
- A nice introduction to qualitative research using clinical examples.
- Erlingsson, C. & Brysiewicz, P. (2013). Orientation among multiple truths: An introduction to qualitative research. African Journal of Emergency Medicine, 3(2): 92-99.
- A clear and thorough overview of qualitative research.
- Two short videos that discuss health-related journal articles and highlight differences between qualitative and quantitative research.
- This video discusses the basic differences between qualitative and quantitative research.
- This is a 6-week introductory Qualitative Research Design Coursera course focused on public health-related qualitative research.
- Note: You can audit the course for free (click ‘sign-up/enroll’ and then click the ‘audit course’ button); there is also a payment option for more access to materials and to earn a certificate.
- Donalek, J. & Soldwisch, S. (2004). De–mystifying nursing research: An introduction to qualitative research methods. Urologic Nursing, 24(4): 354-6.
- This American Psychological Association website provides helpful Journal Article Reporting Standards for different types of research, including Qualitative Research.