Home Blog Types of Research Methodology Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Types of Qualitative Research - A Conceptual Framework

Do you know that qualitative research is divided into several types? If not then this is where your search ends.

Qualitative research is one of the two major types of research. It uses human-centered and interpretive methods to explore meanings and experiences.

There are many different types of qualitative research, which differ in terms of their goals and how they approach data collection.

Qualitative researchers use field notes, interviews, life histories, discourse analysis, ethnography, or case studies to investigate these meanings.

This blog will help you understand some common types of qualitative research. So that you can choose the best one to answer your research question.

Continue reading to learn the difference between them.

What is Qualitative Research?

The qualitative research approach is defined as market-based research that emphasizes 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. Qualitative researchers use different methods from quantitative researchers.

Types of Qualitative Research

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

  1. 1. Phenomenological Method
  2. This type includes a description of how a participant experiences a particular event. Here, a researcher uses observation, surveys, and conducts in-depth interviews to accumulate data.

    Moreover, it focuses on the participant’s feelings during a particular event or activity. Most of 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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2. Ethnographic Research

This model is the most popular and widely recognized method. It analyzes people in their naturally occurring environment as a data source. 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 data collection method entirely depends on the researcher’s expertise to observe, and examine the data.

Read the document below for a clear understanding.

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Ethnographic Research Paper (PDF)

3. 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.

We have mentioned a grounded theory model research paper for you to get a detailed idea.

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Grounded Theory Research Paper (PDF)

4. 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)

5. 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 them with new ones. It is done to determine which is the most effective campaign.

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

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Historical Model Research Paper (PDF)

6. 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)

Some researchers also use mixed research approaches like participant observation as their data analysis tool.

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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.

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Methods of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research design reveals 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.

Here are most commonly used qualitative methods are:

  • Interviews
  • Observation
  • Case Study
  • Record Keeping
  • Content Analysis
  • Focus Groups
Methods of Qualitative Research

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.


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.

You can get a better understanding of the qualitative research method by going through a detailed guide.

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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