Qualitative Research Method

Research involves application of either or both qualitative and quantitative approaches to derive empirical understanding of phenomena. This paper seeks to dichotomize the features of qualitative research that differentiates it from the quantitative research method and its relevance and application.

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Differences of Qualitative from Quantitative Research Method. Qualitative research involves observation of the parts of the whole or observing past patterns in order to arrive at a conclusion. It is a bottom-up approach to research that begins with observation of specific patterns which then lead to formulation of tentative assumptions (Babbie, 2011). The research method involves significant use of words and limited use of numbers. It also does not need to begin with a hypothesis. The goal of qualitative research is to provide complete, detailed description of the phenomenon under investigation. However, Babbie, (2011) cited that quantitative research involves hypothesis testing. From the advanced hypothesis, observable predictions are deduced. Unlike qualitative research, this study generally employs a top-down approach. It also emphasizes objectivity through precise measurement of variables. Therefore unlike qualitative study where the researcher is subjectively immersed in the research, quantitative research is preoccupied with numerical measurements.

Advantages and Benefits of Qualitative Research. Qualitative research has the advantages and benefits that enable a researcher to study more complex aspects of the phenomenon under study. Further, this method is relevant and beneficial considering that not everything in a study can be quantified. Such gaps can be filled through qualitative research (Babbie, 2011). Moreover, this research approach enhances in-depth and detailed study of the target population. Besides, this theory is beneficial in the development of theories that can in turn be utilized to explain related constructs.

Application of Qualitative Research Method. Qualitative research seeks to explore and provide explanation of phenomena through observation and appreciation of the subjective experiences of the respondents. It can thus be used in studies involving HIV/AIDS especially because the construct is personal and intensely. In such a study, a researcher may apply qualitative methodologies such as ethnography, phenomenology, semi-structured interviews, in-depth interviews, focus group interviews of the respondents.

In conclusion, although qualitative research has been considered not empirical and generalizable, this approach is applicable especially because of its ability to suit studies where quantification and precision of measurements are not key.

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