Planning a qualitative research study (2004-07-06).

This page has moved to my new website.

Someone asked me for some specific advice on how to design a qualitative study. I love qualitative research. I think people should be using this mode of research more often. But I have to admit that I have little first hand experience in this area. I can make some general comments but no specific recommendations.

First of all, what is a qualitative study? A qualitative study is a study that uses information that is not easily quantifiable. Your data may come as a focus group transcript, an open-ended questionnaire, or anthropological observations. I have an amusing example of the contrast between qualitative and quantitative data that I found in Denise Polit's book, Data Analysis and Statistics for Nursing Research [BookFinder4U link].

Qualitative data gives you a richer picture of what is really going on and it is ideal for addressing complex topics where you may not know enough to fully delineate a quantitative research study.

I have a bibliography of resources on qualitative research (overviews, examples, design, and critical evaluation).