Qualitative research is very important in educational research as it addresses the "how" and "why" research questions and enables deeper understanding of experiences, phenomena and context. Qualitative research allows you to ask questions that cannot be easily put into numbers to understand human experience. Getting at the everyday realities of some social phenomenon and studying important questions as they are really practiced helps extend knowledge and understanding. To do so, you need to understand the philosophical stance of qualitative research and work from this to develop the research question, study design, data collection methods and data analysis. In this article, I provide an overview of the assumptions underlying qualitative research and the role of the researcher in the qualitative process. I then go on to discuss the type of research objectives which are common in qualitative research, then introduce the main qualitative designs, data collection tools, and finally the basics of qualitative analysis. I introduce the criteria by which you can judge the quality of qualitative research. Many classic references are cited in this article, and I urge you to seek out some of these further reading to inform your qualitative research program.
- Qualitative research
- Research philosophy