5 Qualitative Research Methods

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Discover qualitative analysis and examples of various modalities and strategies used in this research method.


What Exactly Is Qualitative Analysis?

Qualitative analysis, also known as qualitative research, is a method of gathering nonnumerical or subjective data. In the business world, qualitative research may entail collecting real-time data to better understand employee engagement and organizational culture. After a crisis or event, social scientists will also analyze qualitative data to learn more about a specific demographic. Interviewing participants may be part of the analysis process.


Qualitative Analysis vs. Quantitative Analysis

Qualitative and quantitative analysis are research methods that use different data collection processes. The process of gathering and understanding stories and experiences, as well as analyzing their connections and implications, is known as qualitative analysis. Words, ideas, descriptions, and concepts make up qualitative data sets.

Quantitative analysis is based on hard metrics and quantifiable data, such as numbers and statistics. Asking research questions, collecting written accounts, conducting case studies or focus groups, and observing artifacts or other materials for analysis are all examples of quantitative research. A company, for example, might use qualitative data to learn about new hires' experiences with the onboarding process and quantitative data to forecast sales trends.


5 Qualitative Analysis Examples

There are numerous analysis techniques used in research. Here are some examples of qualitative analysis methodologies:

1. Content analysis: One of the most common types of qualitative research, this method evaluates patterns across content. For example, a company can collect data on the frequency of keywords on social media platforms and then measure engagement around the topics because certain keywords may spark interpretive debates and opinions worth following.

2. Discourse analysis: This term refers to debate, as well as written or spoken analysis. Discourse analysis assesses language in all of its forms within the context of culture or social context. Academics might study political speeches, for example, to better understand how politicians frame their ideologies and policy shifts.

3. Grounded theory: This method develops a new theory by testing or revising existing data. This process could begin with a question about a population and end with an interview with a small sample of that population. Social scientists can repeat this cycle to see how the answers of the next group compare to the previous group's. For example, a company may want to look into why its employees are dissatisfied with a new policy or their current workload.

4. Interpretive phenomenological analysis: This methodology interprets a participant's or group of people's personal experiences with a specific event or phenomenon. This could range from a common recurring event, such as getting the flu, to a one-time event, such as a volcanic eruption in a city.

5. Thematic analysis: This type of qualitative analysis examines patterns of meaning within a data set, grouping them into similarities or themes to aid in the interpretation and interpretation of the data. For example, you could examine several letters to the editor of a particular magazine to see how frequently a specific staff writer is mentioned.

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