Advantages And Disadvantages Of Qualitative Research

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The qualitative research study is interpretive research, (Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018)). The study is used to help understand and interpret the true thoughts and feelings of an individual based on their past and present experiences. A qualitative approach is also used to study many different topics. It can also help researchers and readers understand how and why certain behaviors happen in order to obtain a clear picture on the issue at hand. Although there are different study methods and approaches, a qualitative research study can provide a more personal effect in understanding certain social behavior.

When conducting a qualitative study, an audience’s context and understanding to a social problem come from the researcher’s reflection on the study. However, a researcher’s reflection can be uncertain, because a researcher’s role in a qualitative research study is to gain access to the thoughts and feelings of the participants, which can include asking the participant in the study to discuss things that may be personal and hard to talk about. For instance, sometimes the experience being studied can be fresh in the study participant’s mind, which can make it easier to discuss versus other situations in which reliving experiences may be difficult to talk or think about. Another responsibility a researcher has in a qualitative study is to safeguard the participants and their collected data. This safeguarding involves making sure that the participants understand the study and that permission is granted by the ethics review board. Without the understating from the participant and the approval from the review board, safeguarding can be hard to conduct as there is no trust between the researcher and the participants. In the text, it describes an ethnography as a detailed portrait of a culture-sharing group (Creswell, J. W., & Creswell, J. D. (2018)) and just like in qualitative research, an ethnography approach requires a researcher to play a few important roles as well. An ethnography approach is a kind of qualitative research study, it gathers information based on observations, documentary data and it conducts interviews in order to provide details and understanding on a different types of social behavior. In an ethnography approach, a researcher is required to use direct observation when studying participants in their real-life environment over a certain time span. The researcher then spends as much time as possible with the participants in the study to gain a better sense of understanding on how they live, their beliefs and rituals, and their interaction with others, as well as their surroundings. Another role of a researcher when taking an ethnography approach is to gather as much information about the study location before going to the actual location, just to be prepared. For instance, understanding a person’s location and where they are from can give you a broader understating of what you are dealing with and in return can help with communication and building a relationship. Qualitative research helps to develop ideas and/or hypotheses to a problem by collecting, analyzing and interpreting data on a society’s behavior. It gathers non-numerical data or “reasons behind a certain behavior” and focuses on evaluating, clarifying and understanding the participant’s behavior and attitude. Qualitative research study has lots of advantages, but just like all good things, there are disadvantages to it as well. One major disadvantage in qualitative research is that it cannot quantify how many participants will answer one way or another, which can make it difficult to create a solid statistic on the participants. For example, anger or memories cannot be quantified because it is based or coming from the participants’ feelings and emotions. Another concern in qualitative research is no generalization. Unlike quantitative research, once data is collected from a participant in qualitative research, the findings cannot be generalized. In qualitative research, the findings cannot be used as the basis for a broader audience or general public. The rigidity of data is also a concern in qualitative research. Because the data collected is based on the participant’s perspective, it makes it hard to then prove on the rigidity of the collected information. Another concern is the repetitive research required due to the small sample size’s qualitative research relies on. Because a small sample size is not representative of a large sample size, the research will require a follow-up with a large sample size for more accurate data.

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Ethnographical research is very broad and in order to obtain information on the participant’s views, ethnographical research requires a long-term dedication. Ethnographical researchers spend lots of time learning the languages of different participants and work to understand the participant’s unfamiliar ways of life. In order to do this, however, a researcher must travel long distances to explore different locations. The most important aspect an ethnographical researcher should have is the ability to be accepting to the participants and their surroundings. In order to understand a participant’s everyday surroundings and social meaning behind it, an ethnographer researcher may use interviews, participant observation, and fieldwork to gain that understanding. Ethnographical researchers face several challenges as well. One challenge is being an insider. An insider approach is a great way to strengthen the relationship between the researcher and participants, but the blurred boundaries within that relationship can become a challenge. For example, when a participant seeks advise in relation to the observed study, it is important for the researcher to step back and re-inform the boundaries of the relationship in order to maintain the correctness of the findings. Data collection is also a challenge researchers face in ethnographical research. Data collection can be a challenge in ethnographic studies because data collection often ends when time and resources have been exhausted, which then results in the researcher withdrawing from the field. Respecting privacy, honest and open interactions, and avoiding misrepresentations are some of the difficulties a researcher conducting a qualitative research can also face. A relationship or intimacy between a researcher and participant in a qualitative study can also cause difficulties, as well as raise lots of ethical concerns. Anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent are some important ethical actions that should be taken when conducting a qualitative research. Confidentiality and anonymity simply mean that the setting and participants should not be identifiable in all reporting (Ngozwana, N. (2018)). For example, to maintain confidentiality, researchers can give participants numbers or letters when transcribing the data instead of using their names or location. Informed consent has been viewed as an integral part of ethics in research and so for qualitative researchers, it is of the most importance to specify in advance which data will be collected and how they are to be used.

Loic Wacquant is known as a French boxer who delivers an ethnographic study of Chicago’s ghetto by describing the sport of boxing and analyzing it as a life in the streets. In Loic Wacquant’s research, he places a comparison on the sport of boxing and black men. He creates an understanding that the social lives of hard-working black men and the body is in connection with skill, agility, and determination. His research focuses on the social theory habitus by Pierre Bourdieu to distinguish how the logic of practice is embedded in actual human bodies. Wacquant’s research reveals how our life experiences are formed by the physical embodiment of cultural capital, ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions are created by our life experience. In Wacquant’s research, he showed to have maintained an ethical and neutral stance as a sociologist and boxer. He carried out respect to all, while at the same time conducting research. He also maintained his ethical and neutral stance by acknowledging the fact that people growing up in the ghetto are living in poor conditions. To enhance his neutrality in his research, he became a boxer within a ghetto society so that he is able to understand the struggle, while at the same time keeping notes of his experiences. Wacquant could have gone with a quantitative approach, but the outcome wouldn’t be the same as the qualitative ethnographic approach he took. A qualitative research approach would have consisted of collecting statically data with abrasive collection methods and for certain actions that can alter the outcome of the study. Wacquant’s experience as a boxer and an ethnographer was very effective as disorder was minimized. Wacquant research would not have been successful with a quantitative research study because it doesn’t provide a clear understanding on the uniqueness of social worlds, and it doesn’t use the insider’s view to analyze the concepts. In a quantitative research study, humans are looked at as numbers and because humans do not express their perceptions and emotions with numbers, the true findings are then altered or unreal. Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe or interact with participants within a study while they are in their real-life environment. The goal of this type of research is to gain an understanding on how an individual interacts with things in their natural environment.

Qualitative research and ethnographic research can inform our understanding of unique social worlds by providing us access to the actual social contexts and the life worlds of those being studied (Loïc Wacquant. (1998)). Ethnography as a research method can help with gaining a deeper understanding of human behavior, their motivations, and social interaction within a cultural context. The research helps our understanding by providing detailed descriptions and analysis, which paints a picture of the way culture-sharing groups interpret their experiences and interactions. A policymaker is not aware of what policy needs to be made, in order to make a better decision on what is right, they need evidence. And therefore, research is so important as they can help policies be more creative and have a better response to on-the-ground realities. Public policy is influenced by many different citizens and social groups by supporting candidates and political parties. This event may not be the best way, but it is a good way to make a positive impact. Because politicians and political parties come and go and their views on issues can change at any time, the best way to make an impact on public policy last is to change public opinion. If an individual can change the beliefs of people, then change in politicians and political parties will follow. It is said that qualitative research is used more frequently when conducting a study on human social behavior and their cultures.

A qualitative approach is a method taken in many different types of research and in combination with a quantitative method more information and understanding can get across to individuals. It is a research method that aims to develop concepts that help us as individuals to understand a certain social occurrence and to help us gain an understanding of the experiences, perceptions and behaviors of individuals, and why they occur.


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