Qualitative Research Methods

5203 words 21 pages
OVERVIEW

Qualitative Research Methods: A Data Collector’s Field Guide

Module 1

Qualitative Research Methods Overview

F A M I L Y

H E A L T H

I N T E R N A T I O N A L

Qualitative Research Methods Overview
OVERVIEW

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his module introduces the fundamental elements of a qualitative approach to research, to help you understand and become proficient in the qualitative methods discussed in subsequent modules. We recommend that you consult the suggested readings at the end of the module for more in-depth treatment of the foundations of qualitative research. This module covers the following topics: Introduction to Qualitative Research Comparing Qualitative and Quantitative Research Sampling in Qualitative Research Recruitment
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The key difference between quantitative and qualitative methods is their flexibility. Generally, quantitative methods are fairly inflexible. With quantitative methods such as surveys and questionnaires, for example, researchers ask all participants identical questions in the same order. The response categories from which participants may choose are “closed-ended” or fixed. The advantage of this inflexibility is that it allows for meaningful comparison of responses across participants and study sites. However, it requires a thorough understanding of the important questions to ask, the best way to ask them, and the range of possible responses.

Overview

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Qualitative methods are typically more flexible – that is, they allow greater spontaneity and adaptation of the interaction between the researcher and the study participant. For example, qualitative methods ask mostly “open-ended” questions that are not necessarily worded in exactly the same way with each participant. With open-ended questions, participants are free to

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