What is Qualitative Research? And Why?
We first present a definition of qualitative research. We then provide you with some examples to apply this definition of qualitative research to understand what this method is. Qualitative research allows researchers to explore or investigate the quality of relationships, activities, situations, or materials (Fraenkel, Wallen & Hyun 2015). Consider the example of basic training on a machine in a factory i.e. ready-made garment (RMG) factory. How do trainers train the employees? What are jobs employees do? What are the things that they perform as they have to meet target? In what type of teams do they have to engage? The list of questions is endless. Now, if you would like to achieve some insights about these concerns, you may try to portray or write the everyday experiences of the employees of the factory. Your focus would be only the employees of the particular factory or only particular employees eligible for the training. Hence, to explore or investigate the answer to those questions, you may observe the employees’ activities in the factory on a regular basis if possible and try to describe what they do as elaborately as possible. Now, imagine what is your interest to the employees? The answer to this question is that preceding examples directly point to the fact that you are interested in the ‘quality’ of a particular activity than how often it occurs or how it would otherwise be evaluated. Therefore, to get your interest into reality, you will have to ‘explore’ the activities, situations, materials, and quality of relationships associated with those employees. This form of investigation or exploration is known as qualitative research.
Let us provide you further clarification adopting the views of Cleland (2017), who argued that qualitative research addresses the research questions concerning ‘how’ and ‘why’ and allows a researcher to understand the context, phenomena, and experiences. From this definition, you should understand that it is not easily possible to put the answers of ‘how’ and ‘why’ into numbers to understand the phenomena, context, objects, and experiences. However, getting answers to those ‘how’ and ‘why’ or any other ‘Wh-questions’ are essential and practical because those answers can extend the current knowledge, enrich existing literature, and further develop our understanding. So, what is the method, in general, that you should adopt/apply in your thesis or research paper in answering the questions of ‘how’ and ‘why’ or any other Wh-questions when you found it is not possible to easily put the answers in numbers? In this regard, the answer is that you should adopt qualitative research.
Let us further explain, when you should adopt qualitative research. You have to conduct qualitative research when you need to write something in a literary and flexible style that outlines stories or events, poems, or theatre without any restrictions of formal academic writing structure (Creswell & Poth, 2018). Furthermore, you can adopt qualitative research to develop new theories, strengthen current theories, or even apply existing theories in new settings. Again, qualitative research is recommended when you identify inadequate or partial theories existing for a particular sample or geography or context. Moreover, you are suggested to adopt qualitative research when you recognise that current theories do not adequately capture specific issues or problems. Finally, you have to conduct qualitative research when you need to understand the settings or contexts in which respondents or participants or objects can address/outline an issue or problem. Qualitative research allows readers to know something new and probably find viable solutions to a problem.
For more information:
Islam, M. A., & Aldaihani, F. M. F (2022) Justification for Adopting Qualitative Research Method, Research Approaches, Sampling Strategy, Sample Size, Interview Method, Saturation, and Data Analysis, Journal of International Business and Management, 5(1), 01-11.
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