Home Blog Different Types of Research Methodologies Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Prior modules have introduced two main types of research methods i.e. qualitative and quantitative research.

These approaches are for study design and the process of data collection.

The type of research method you choose entirely depends on your research questions. In this particular article, we will discuss the types of qualitative research methods.

Continue reading to learn the difference between them.

What is Qualitative Research?

The qualitative research approach is defined as the market-based research that emphasizes on collecting the data through communication. It primarily deals with human behavior.

Furthermore, it is applied across many academic disciplines. It also does not necessarily test the hypothesis about the qualitative data. But is often used to develop an in-depth understanding of social work problems.

Apart from that, qualitative research has a huge background in sociology. It is used by social scientists to examine the behavior of different people through a subjective approach. Similarly, it also investigates symbols and meaning to create new theories that can be further tested.

Want to know more about qualitative research in detail? Follow the link to learn everything about different types of research with examples.

Methods of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods reveal the attitude of the target audience with reference to a particular topic. They basically originate from behavioral and social science. Moreover, it presents detailed outcomes and the inferences can be described easily from the data analysis.

The most commonly used qualitative methods are:

  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Case Study
  • Record Keeping
  • Content Analysis
  • Focus Groups

Let us discuss each one in detail.

In-Depth Interviews

Organizing in-depth interviews is the most common method for qualitative research. It is a conversational method that involves one participant at a time.

The benefits of this approach include collecting data about what people believe and what their motivations are. Such interviews can be conducted face-to-face or on the telephone.

However, it can last from half an hour to two hours. Lastly, it provides a better idea of the respondent's body language.

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It's a mechanism using empirical methodologies to collect systematic sources of data. Primarily, a participant is used to compare differences. This includes five essential sensory organs and their functions i.e.

  • Sight
  • Taste
  • Hearing
  • Smell
  • Touch

Focus Groups

A focus group involves a limited number of participants used for data collection. Such a target audience is there to find the responses to ‘what', ‘how', and ‘why' questions.

Moreover, it does not require a researcher to necessarily communicate with the group directly. Instead, online surveys can be sent on several devices to collect the answers.

This method is considered expensive in contrast to other qualitative research methods. Nevertheless, It is useful when it comes to market research and testing of new products.

Case Study

This method has advanced over the past few years. It is mainly used within a number of areas to explain an organization or an entity.

Content Analysis

It is used for studying documents and communication artifacts. Social scientists use it to examine the study pattern in a systematic manner.


It uses reliable existing documents and similar information sources as the data source. To gather relevant data, a researcher may go over books and other reference material. It can be used in a new research study.

Features of Qualitative Research Methods

Some of the different features of the qualitative research methods are given below:

  • They are used to gather information at the location where the respondents usually experience problems. This is real-time information that forces the participants to come out of their geographic environment to assemble it.
  • The researchers do not just focus on a single source of data. Instead, they collect data from different sources like interviews, observations, and documents.
  • They also work to solve complicated problems by breaking them down into useful inferences. It makes it simple to understand and read.
  • Lastly, such communicative methods can lead people to easily build their trust in the researcher.

Continue reading to get a better understanding of the qualitative research methods.

Types of Qualitative Research

There are six main types of qualitative research that are widely used in educational, business, and government organizations. These include:

Phenomenological Method

This type includes a description of how a participant experiences a particular event. Here, a researcher uses observation, surveys, and interviews to accumulate data.

Moreover, it focuses on the participant's feelings during a particular event or activity. Most of the businesses employ this type to help sales representatives in closing their sales.

The below-mentioned document will help you with writing a phenomenological method research paper.

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Phenomenological Method Research Paper (PDF)
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Ethnographic Research

This model is the most popular and widely recognized method. It analyzes people in their naturally occurring environment. The main goal is to learn the motivations, cultural challenges, and settings that happen.

Apart from this, it engages the researcher for extended periods of time. It is further used to understand the customer in a business model and can continue from a few days to years.

This time-consuming and challenging method entirely depends on the researcher's expertise to observe, examine, and infer the data.

Read the document below for a clear understanding.

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Ethnographic Research Paper (PDF)

Grounded Theory Method

This approach elaborates on why a course of action has evolved the way it did. These theoretical paradigms are formed on the basis of biological, generic, or psychological science.

Corporations make use of this method while conducting user satisfaction surveys. It explains why a customer uses a company's product or service. Such information helps to manage customer's loyalty and satisfaction.

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Grounded Theory Research Paper (PDF)

Case Study Model

The case study model gives a comprehensive understanding of one subject. It can be an individual, business, family or town. In addition, the data is obtained from different sources and collected to make a bigger conclusion

Many businesses use this technique when marketing new customers. It tells them how their business solutions can solve a specific problem.

Have a look at the below-mentioned document for further help.

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Case Study Research Paper (PDF)

Historical Model

The historical method illustrates past events to present patterns and anticipating future choices. It answers hypothetical data-based questions and uses the research to test them.

Some business firms use previous ad campaigns and test it with the new ones. It is done to determine which is the most effective campaign.

Check out the example given below of a research paper using historical model

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Historical Model Research Paper (PDF)

Narrative Model

This model occurs for a longer time period and assembles the gathered data. In narrative research, the subjects are taken from a starting point and situations are reviewed as obstacles or opportunities.

Though the end result does not always appear in chronological order. Businesses use it to describe buyer personas and classify innovations that attract the target market.

Read the sample research paper given below:

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Narrative Model Research Paper (PDF)

Qualitative Research Question

A research problem frames the whole study and influences the researcher to choose a specific research method. However, qualitative research lacks a set of hypotheses. Therefore, research questions are the result of the research design process.

The below-mentioned guidelines can help you develop the right research question.

  • These questions usually begin with what, why, or how
  • It identifies a certain phenomenon that you plan to explore
  • Never use words like effect, cause, influence, and relate
  • Use phrases like personal experience, meaning, stories, and understanding

Some examples of the research questions are:

  • How is it like to grow up with a single parent?
  • What are the experiences of people doing a night job?
  • Discuss the mealtime of obese people while dieting
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Qualitative Research Example

The following are examples of qualitative research format paper. Have a look at them to get a better understanding.

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Qualitative Research Paper Outline (PDF)

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Qualitative Research Proposal Sample (PDF)

Types of research have always been a hot topic. This blog has provided you everything to get started with your qualitative research paper.

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