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According to a module from the University of Surrey, data collection for qualitative research usually involves: (1) direct interaction with individuals on a one-to-one basis; or, (2) direct interaction with individuals in a group setting.
Qualitative research data collection methods are time consuming, therefore data is usually collected from a smaller sample than would be the case for quantitative approaches – therefore this makes qualitative research more expensive.
The benefits of the qualitative approach is that the information is richer and has a deeper insight into the phenomenon under study. The main methods for collecting qualitative data are: (1) individual interviews; (2) focus groups; (3) observations; and (4) action research.
There are three fundamental types of research interviews: structured, semi-structured and unstructured. Structured interviews are, essentially, verbally administered questionnaires, in which a list of predetermined questions are asked, with little or no variation and with no scope for follow-up questions to responses that warrant further elaboration.
Consequently, they are relatively quick and easy to administer and may be of particular use if clarification of certain questions are required or if there are likely to be literacy or numeracy problems with the respondents. However, by their very nature, they only allow for limited participant responses and are, therefore, of little use if ‘depth’ is required.
To further explore this, here are some videos that you might be interested:
Type Me Your Answer: Generating Interview Data via Email by Lucy Gibson, Edge Hill University
Narrative Analysis by Vanessa May, University of Manchester
Hypothetically Speaking: Using Vignettes as a Stand-Alone Qualitative Method by Debra Gray, University of Winchester and Helen Malson, University of the West of England
Online Discussion Forums: A Rich and Vibrant Source of Data by David Giles, University of Winchester
Once Upon a Time…: Qualitative Story Completion Methods by Victoria Clarke, University of the West of England (UWE) and Nikki Hayfield, UWE; and Naomi Moller, The Open University
Writing Up Qualitative Research by Graham Gibbs, University of Huddersfield
Dennis Relojo-Howell is the founder of Psychreg. He writes for the American Psychological Association and has a weekly column for Free Malaysia Today.
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