Chapter 6.4 Qualitative Research

Qualitative Research37

The purpose of qualitative research is to gather non-numerical data to help explain or develop a theory about a relationship.  Methods used to gain qualitative information include surveys, observation, case studies, and interviews and the information derived from these means can be combined into a story like description of what is happening or what has happened in the past.  For example, to better understand variables that are difficult to quantify, such as attitudes, religious beliefs, or political opinions, qualitative research could be used to draw a picture about a specific population or group of people.  Qualitative research is often also used as a pilot study in order to gather information that may later lead to a quantitative study.