What is Qualitative Research and Qualitative Research Design with Proper Definition and Brief Explanation

The research design is the overall plan of your research study. It defines the type of study to be carried out, subtype, research problem, hypotheses, variables (dependent and independent), experimental design, data collection methods, etc. The design of your investigation may depend on the type of information that the investigator also wants to discover. Therefore, there is a difference between the research designs used in quantitative research and qualitative research.

This article looks at,

1. What is qualitative research?
– Characteristics of qualitative research.
2. What is qualitative research research design?

What is qualitative research?

Qualitative research is investigative or exploratory in nature and is used by researchers to observe human habits and behaviors. A qualitative approach is used to analyze a problem in depth and develop theories or hypotheses. It is also used to understand the underlying causes, opinions, motivations behind something, and to discover trends in opinions and thoughts. This is considered a subjective approach, as it contains observations and descriptions rather than purely statistical data.

Qualitative research characteristics

  • Subjective approach
  • Used in soft sciences (social sciences)
  • Complex and broad focus.
  • Based on individual observations, communication and interpretation.
  • Dialectic, inductive reasoning.
  • Words as a basic element of analysis.
  • Data collection is done through interviews, observation, and document analysis.

What is qualitative research research design?

The design of any research study will depend on the type of information that the researcher wants to discover. There are different types of qualitative research designs; In this article, we are looking at six qualitative research designs:

Grounded theory

The grounded theory approach is a special approach whose main purpose is to develop theories. This type of study does not start with any pre-existing hypotheses or theory. Instead, the theory is developed after analysis of the collected data. The researcher involved in this research design will first collect data through interviews, observations, record review, or a combination of these methods. Then he or she will analyze the collected data and notice recurring ideas and concepts, which will be tagged with codes. As the data analysis progresses, the codes will be grouped into concepts and the concepts into categories. The categories will serve as the basis for the theories.

Historical studies

Historical studies examine past events to understand the present and expect possible future effects. The process involves selecting an appropriate topic after reading related literature, developing research questions, finding an inventory of sources such as achievements, documents, private libraries, etc., verifying its validity and reliability, and collecting data. Data analysis in this approach will involve the synthesis of all the information and the reconciliation of the conflicting information.

Case studies

A case study is a detailed investigation of the development of a single phenomenon or an individual over a period of time. Case studies are generally used to explore complex problems using both qualitative and quantitative data. They are holistic, systematic, context sensitive, and layered. They begin with the identification of the research problem, which is then followed by the selection of the cases and the data collection and method of analysis. The next step is field data collection and analysis. Since the case studies focus on a single phenomenon, it is somewhat difficult to use these data to form generalizations.

Research for Action

Active investigation is a type of investigation approach that aims to solve an immediate problem. This design can include a combination of analytical, investigative, and evaluation methods designed to diagnose and solve problems. The researcher, who will also act as a participant, will first identify a research problem, clarify theories about it, and then identify research questions. You will then collect data about the problem and organize it. The data will then be analyzed and interpreted, and a plan will be created to address the problem. The last steps of this research design include implementing this plan and evaluating the results of this plan.


Phenomenology is a study that aims to understand the subjective, lived experiences and perspectives of the participants. This is based on the main idea that there are multiple interpretations of the same experience and these multiple interpretations or meanings make up reality. This approach involves long and intensive interview sessions with several participants to gather information on unique individual experiences that offer a rich description of human experiences.


Ethnography is the systematic study of communities and cultures. Researchers who participate in ethnographic studies participate, either openly or covertly, in the daily life of the population being studied. They spend an extended period of time among this population, observing what is happening, listening to what is said, and asking questions. Interviews, observations, and record analysis are the main data collection methods in an ethnographic study. The main objective of an ethnographic investigation is to explore and study culture from an internal point of view.


As explained above, the research design of a qualitative research study will depend on the type of information that the researcher wants to discover. Although this article only discusses six research approaches, a researcher can use more methods or create his or her own design to discover and evaluate information about a research problem.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Back to top button