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Using Articles To Compare And Contrast Qualitative And Quantitative Research Designs

Identify two articles in the University Library: one in which the business problem is researched using a qualitative design and the other using a quantitative design. Summarize each of the research designs.

Write a 350- to 700-word paper in which you compare and contrast the two approaches:

  • What are the strengths and weaknesses of each approach?
  • How can they be used most effectively in a combined approach?
  • Which method is more appropriate for research in your own business and functional area?

Assessing Research Designs and Recommending Qualitative Research Designs

Section 5: Qualitative methods

In this section you will explore qualitative methods in research. Different from quantitative, but still very valuable, especially in education studies, qualitative methods are often used to collect data that cannot be quantified, such as how humans react to a situation. Qualitative studies rely on information subjects share with the researcher and are often longer and more involved to assure the collection of data is accurate.

This section discusses observational methods, which are often involved in qualitative research.
Please answer questions in detail and support your answers with scholarly research citations where appropriate.

Length: 5-7 pages

Your paper should demonstrate thoughtful consideration of the ideas and concepts that are presented in the course and provide new thoughts and insights relating directly to this topic. Your response should reflect scholarly writing and current APA standards.

Learning Outcomes: 1, 6 Assignment Outcomes

  • Argue the criteria for selection of a research method.
  • Justify qualitative research designs when appropriate

Which Research Method is Better? – Qualitative Or Quantitative

Generally, the two research techniques have their own advantages and disadvantages. You can read about Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research And Their Strengths And Weaknesses here.  For instance, in quantitative research the use of larger samples and presence of less contact between the researcher and the interviewees makes its findings less biased, (McCusker & Gunaydin, 2014). Whereas the great deal of contact in qualitative research gives information that is subject to bias owing to the in-depth exploration. However, the findings in quantitative research are conclusive and can apply to the rest of the study population, while the presence of in-depth exploration in qualitative research, provide a better understanding of the phenomena. Therefore, a combination of both study techniques, other than choosing one based on its merits or demerits, provides a better method of conducting a study.

Two Major Ways in Which Qualitative Research Differs From Quantitative Research

Generally there are two types of research that one can use to conduct study and these are qualitative and quantitative. The choice of a particular study depends on the goals and objectives for which the study is conducted, (Polit & Beck, 2010). In qualitative research study, special interest is placed on use of the sensory methods like observation and listening in gathering of data. Qualitative research has found a great deal of application in nursing, especially in evidence-based research and is increasingly being accepted in medicine. On the other hand, quantitative research is an investigation that relies on numbers to explain phenomena.

There are major differences that exist between these two forms of research and this touch most on the flexibility of the two methods. The two major differences between qualitative and quantitative research methods occur in their methodologies. While qualitative research seeks to study perspectives in individuals or phenomena, quantitative research on the other hand seeks to prove a hypothesis.

            Tools in Qualitative and Quantitative Research

            Qualitative researcher uses a more structured approach in collecting its data. The major difference between qualitative research and quantitative is that in quantitative research, the researcher employs structured questionnaires, surveys and observation. The questionnaires are often detailed and these are then presented to the participants in the field. However, in qualitative research, the questionnaires are semi-structured in nature and include some questions that guide the respondents.

The structured questionnaires in quantitative research provide data, which is then expressed in numbers for analysis. Since numbers in quantitative research are often numeric in nature, it provides a way in which statistical tests can be applied to test such data, a feat that is absent in qualitative research. Statistical tests used in quantitative research include mean, median, variance and deviations. These descriptive statistics are very useful in determining differences between groups and preference trends among other statistical facts.

However, in qualitative research, participant observation, in-depth interviews and focus groups are often commonly used. Data obtained from qualitative research are often used to describe characteristics or qualities of phenomena. Although encoding provides a way in which the data can be reduced into numbers in qualitative research, this is often not employed. Questionnaires in qualitative research are semi-structured in nature and are mainly used to get qualitative measurements and as such no measurements are done like in quantitative research. Moreover, there are no statistics used in qualitative research, unlike in quantitative research, instead descriptive words are used to explore phenomena.


Sampling techniques provides another major difference between quantitative and qualitative research methods. In quantitative research, large samples are used. Often, the study population in quantitative research is large and this is divided into smaller samples using random sampling. In order to get unbiased and reliable findings the samples are given equal chance of occurrence and various strategies of random sampling which include stratified, systematic, cluster and stratified are used. Sampling procedure involves dividing study population into groups and the samples are then selected randomly from the population. The use of larger samples in quantitative research provides a better way of making generalizations using the statistical tests.

However, the focus of qualitative research is on smaller samples of the population. This often takes a form of focus groups, and the main sampling strategies common are snowball, quota and purposive sampling. The main interest in qualitative research is to explore and to explain phenomena. This study design is often concerned more on the process than the outcomes, which is not the case in quantitative research.

Sources of Bias for Quantitative and Qualitative Research

In research, bias can be defined as the process of introducing a systematic error into the sampling and thus encouraging one outcome over the other, (Arnold, 2010). This can be attributed to many reasons, for instance due to experimental error, where the researcher fails to take into account all the research variables. There are many types of biases and all these depend on the research design employed. The following are the possible research biases for both qualitative and quantitative research.

Bias in Qualitative Research

In qualitative research, bias is defined in terms of the validity and reliability of the research findings, (Polit & Beck, 2012). If the findings are not reliable and valid, then they shall be termed as biased. The main disadvantage of bias is that it leads to distortion of truth in addition to producing skewed data.

Bias from Moderator

            The moderator is the individual who is responsible for collecting the research data. The moderator can be a source of bias based on his/her facial expressions, mode of dressing, tonal expressions and style of language among other factors. Although this type of bias is hard to eliminate, it can be minimized through maintenance of neutrality in tonal expression, mode of dressing and language.

Biased Questions

            The way in which questions are asked can influence the answers given by respondents. There is need for the interviewer to determine biased questions and rephrase them. A question forms the main basis in which information is collected and this can lead invalid findings if they are biased. The following are the major ways in which questions can lead to biased research findings.

            Leading Questions

The most common form of bias in asking of questions is the tendency of the field interviewer to ask questions that suggests possible answer, (Green, 2013). Leading questions give slanted answers from respondents. An example of a leading question can take the form of, “Doctors have found that sugars are actually responsible for excess fat in our bodies. What do you think?”

            Misunderstood/ Unanswerable Questions

            Another form of bias with regard to asking of questions is asking the respondent a question, which he/her cannot understand. The respondent will be forced give his/her answer based on the perceived understanding and this can give biased information.

Biased Answers

 Biased answers arise from statements that are generally untrue or partially true. The common occasions where such answers are obtained are when conduction interviews on focus groups. The presence of dominant respondents in focus groups may influence other respondents and this may create skewed answers. Additionally, another source of bias can arise from inconsistent answers especially in questions where one leads to the other question.

  Biased Sample

Sample refers to subgroup of the target population where research is conducted. If the sample is not screened well, one may interview wrong people. Interviewing respondents who do not form the subgroup constitutes bias. Another form of bias in sample selection is failure to use random sampling in the selection of the sample. Random sampling ensures that the study samples have equal chance of selection.

Biased Reporting

 Sometimes, bias can arise from reporting of the results. This source of bias may arise because of personal beliefs, customs, attitude, culture and errors among many other factors. If the person reporting analyses the research information based on his/her beliefs other than the view perceived by the respondents, the findings shall be compromised and hence biased.

Bias in Quantitative Research

            Whereas in qualitative research an effort is made to understand the source of bias, in quantitative research, the researcher tries to eliminate bias.

Design Bias

 Design bias encompasses bias that may arise when conducting the experiments, as well as during analysis of the results. Design biases are always common, mostly due to the failure of the researchers to take into account the likely impact of the bias in the research they conduct.

Sampling Bias

Sampling biases occurs in quantitative research when a researcher compromises with the selection of the study subgroup. For instance, a researcher may decide to omit a certain group in the study sample, or include only a specific group. For example, a study on breast cancer that includes only male participants is said to be biased and its results cannot be extrapolated to cover entire study population that include females. Similarly, when a study is done outside a recreation centre on students in a psychological study is biased since it is not inclusive. The major source of sampling bias occurs in systematic and random sampling.

Random and Systematic Bias

Random and systematic sampling can be a source of bias if the researcher fails to select a representative sample. For, example, if a research is done on a population of around 10,000 students and the researcher takes a sample size of 40 students, then the research would be deemed biased since it is not representative. Additionally, if on selection process, the researcher picks specific group of students then it would give biased results since the chosen study sample should always possess an equal chance of being studied and this should be randomized.

Qualitative Research Article Summary – Minority Identity and Self-Esteem

Porter & Washington (1993) studied the concept of self-esteem among the Hispanic and American Asian sub-groups and compared their findings on the existing literature on the self-image of the African American people. A summary of the model used in this research is found on page 139 of the research article. This research article primarily employed grounded theory in its qualitative research design, and this is the reason why it was chosen. Reviews were done on the available theoretical models done on Asian Americans and Hispanics. The research findings were then compared to the existing literature on African American self-image.

Problem Statement

            The research sought to investigate the personal self-esteem among the Asian Americans and Hispanics. The research identified the research problem after a review of the existing theoretical models on Asian Americans and Hispanics showed that they centered primarily on description that focused on ethnic groups rather than self-image, (Porter & Washington, 1993).

Statement of Purpose

The main purpose of the research article was to describe the paradigms of personal esteem racial/ethnic and self-image that has been studied among the Asian Americans and the Hispanics. In addition, this research article finally concludes by showing the parallels that exist between the theories that deals with ethnicity and race.

Research Questions

            The research employed chiefly empirical evidence analysis and from the analyses, the researchers made some conclusions.


The research employed empirical analysis of past theoretical models as its grounded theory in the research method design. The research pursued this core method in its data collection, as well as creation of parallels and paradigms.

Key Findings

The research article made a number of findings based on its analysis of theoretical models and existing literature on African American self-image. The key findings from the research are:

            Research Findings on Personal Self-Esteem among Hispanics and Asian Americans

            The research found that the Mexican American children have lower self-esteem as do the African Americans and Anglo-Americans, (Porter & Washington, 1993). Furthermore, the research further found that some studies reveal no major difference in the personal self-esteem among these groups. Other studies pointed out that Japanese and Korean Americans have poor personal esteem compared to the white or the blacks.

On the other hand, the research found a relationship in biculturalism and psychological adjustments among the Hispanic and Asian subgroups. Finally, under this category of research, it was determined that in overall, the Asian American children had lower personal esteem than that of Blacks, Anglos and Mexican Americans.

            Relationship between Personal Self-Esteem and Group   

The research found out that most of the paradigms in the ethnic discussion had a reciprocal relationship between personal self-esteem and race, (Porter & Washington, 1993). Furthermore, the research found that the ability to manage ethnic and racial discrimination is dependent on high self-esteem. Additionally, the research found out that a group image, which is positive, was generally seen to be a protective of the self-esteem. The research found also that research showed that the good group image among the Asian and Hispanic subgroups was closely related to their high personal self-esteem.

Qualitative Research Article Critique – A Year in the Life of an Elementary School

1.0 Results

1.1Data Analysis

Even though the procedures used by Dorgan were less that desirably described, the researcher’s analysis of data seemed to be relatively explicit and clear. The themes emerge throughout the report of the study and are part of direct excerpted commentary of the participants in the study. Dorgan does not put the words in the mouths of the participants but rather analyzes and narrates the responses of the participants. Indeed, Dorgan includes all statements of the participants in the study even those that seem to be generally oppose the theme of her study; that CRTs and SOL have negative impacts on education. Even though this is true, it should be noted that such is the only example of the said commentary and the overall tomes of comments by the participants’ articulate a sense of defeat and frustration.


The report by Dorgan indicated the researcher triangulated the data collection techniques in ethnographic analysis and employed the three principal methods in the collection of data for the study. These primary techniques include observation, interviewing of participants and data analysis. Various themes were emergent from the data collected in the study which was coded. These themes were outlined in the results section of Dorgan’s research study. Even though the goal of a qualitative research study cannot be generalized, it ought to be made clear that the findings reported by Dorgan in her report can actually be transmitted to other situations and contexts (Cohen, Manion, & Morrison, 2003). That is, even though there are no two schools with similar context, the general functioning of any school as a whole and the response of the school to political stimuli ought to be compared to every other school in a similar situation. The findings of the study are a result of the driving force in the research study; two questions highlighted by Dorgan in page 1205 of the article. In particular, the questions are 1. “What was the effect of a political decision on pedagogical decision making?” and 2. How might the demands of a new testing program affect how teacher(s) teach and how children are expected to learn?” It is also pertinent to note that the research by Dorgan was not driven by hypothesis as would be the norm in qualitative studies (Dorgan, 2004). Instead, Dorgan begins her study by asking questions and collects her findings around these set of questions. However, while this is the case, it should be noted that the questions actually form somewhat a hypothesis that is based on Dorgan’s perceived notion that political decision making will certainly have an effect on teaching and learning and secondly, a new testing program will certainly affect learning and teaching.

1.3Theoretical Integrations

The theories in the study are grounded within and also emergent from the collected data. In essence, the theory within the study may be stated in terms of answering the research questions aforementioned. The theory by Dorgan emerges in her conclusion of the article where she draws support from other related literature with supporting observations and analyses. A vehicle for ideation is provided by the general similarity of the said contexts on a broad level (Dorgan, 2004). The theory by itself suggests that the political policy will actually have a powerful effect on the pedagogical teaching, decision making and learning strategies in the state of Virginia. Dorgan is keen to state that, “Teachers will continue to spend their days doing what they are told to do, reaching for goals they did not themselves establish, and worrying about whether or not they are doing enough” (Dorgan, 2004, p. 1224).

2.0 Discussion

2.1 Interpretation of the Findings

Even though the procedures that Dorgan used in collecting data for her study were less than desirably described, the researcher’s analysis of the collected data seemed to be relatively explicit and clear. The summary of the emergent themes by Dorgan appears to be based on contexts of the participants and are complete. The themes emerge from the participants themselves and are not imposed on the situation by the researcher. The researcher makes a continuous effort in noting the regular patterns of attitude, tone and commentary in terms of the respondent’s commentary throughout the interviews as well as other social contexts that can be observed within the natural academic environment.

From the findings of the study, the notion of quality and quantity as well as the shift in methods of teaching was quite alarming (Dorgan, 2004). The various effects of CRTs and SOL on the system within Virginia and in the particular elementary school appear to be at odds with what an individual would perceive to be the trend in education across North America (Dorgan, 2004). In equal fashion, it was also disturbing to note that the teachers who participated in the case study lacked control in terms of approach and organization used in the delivery of curricula. The most pressing issue in the study as discovered by Dorgan was perhaps the lack of time. The teachers, who attempted to adhere to guide which accompanied the new curricula, reported that they felt they were being rushed and lacked the sufficient time to accomplish their objectives.

By the fact that my goal is to discuss how the themes/findings are interpreted and not enumerated, I will avoid any further attempt of drawing out the themes. Instead, I will comment on how the said findings are developed and used within the study. Dorgan notes the themes in her findings but not as explicitly as a reader would expect. In her results section, she divides her areas into two parts with the first part describing how teaching and learning is affected while the second part shows how students cope. These involve the major emergent themes but fail to articulate the themes in the study as a qualitative research ought to (Neuman, 1997).


2.2 Implications/Recommendations

With the study by Dorgan, it may be possible for the government to tackle some of the pressing issues within education such as the lack of time that teachers stated was a bottleneck in completing the curriculum. The quality and quantity of education being passes to students needs to be addressed as Dorgan found out that these were quite alarming (Dorgan, 2004). There is need to address these as they greatly impact the education system in regard to the knowledge that students gain from schools. The effects of SOL and CRTs also needs to be addressed as they were discovered to be at odds with what an individual would believe to be the case and trend in the education system within North America (Dorgan, 2004).

3.0 Global Issues

3.1 Presentation

The report of the study is presented relatively well for a qualitative study. Coding is used by Dorgan as well as grouping the findings of the study thematically to ease the analysis of data and comprehension by a reader. The research also answers the research questions with these findings presented well in the research report.  However, the conclusion by Dorgan on the study seemed to be a bit vague. Even though it is evident that the purpose of the study was fulfilled and the research questions answered, it is unclear in the report whether any approaches by the participants was actually effective in terms of adaptation to the new instructional methods, curriculum or efforts by the school’s administration.


3.2 Research Credibility

The research by Dorgan being qualitative is credible due to a number of reasons. Through the triangulation of the methods of data collection between interviews, observation and data analysis, Dorgan is able to enhance the validity and credibility of the research. Dorgan also authorizes two of the participants to view an initial draft of the research report and give feedback on how the report can be polished. This is part of the stages in undertaking a case study and helps in improving the general credibility of a research since a study is as good as its final report (Neuman, 1997).

In addition, the methods used in collecting the data for the study are coupled with excerpts from the actual data collected. The author further states the credibility of her study by noting within the introduction of the report that he focus solely was on the goal of the study.

Moreover, the move to provide excerpts from the interviews conducted and accounting for subjectivity allows the respondents in the study to speak for themselves. Dorgan thus reduces the possibility that a reader can perceive that she is very subjective in the efforts of understanding the situations of the participants. Lastly, by referencing other literature on similar topics and contexts, a level of transferability of the research is suggested by Dorgan thereby adding to the credibility of the study.

Download full sample essay which is a critique of a qualitative research article which was written by Karen Dorgan –  A Year in the Life of an Elementary School:  One School’s Experiences in Meeting New Mathematics Standards or order a unique critique of  any qualitative research article at an affordable price. 

Qualitative Vs Quantitative Research And Their Strengths And Weaknesses

Assignment Instructions

Write a 2- to 3-page narrative essay in which you address the following items:

  • discuss what constitutes a research problem
  • compare and contrast the strengths and weaknesses of quantitative research and qualitative research

Sample Answer


A qualitative research is concerned with the investigative methods that are the participant observer, field, and anthropological, naturalistic and ethnographic research. Qualitative research focusses primarily on the data in the field. It is like the research method that explores the various topics given. It aims to give an understanding of various motivations, opinion and reasons regarding a particular topic. Qualitative research uses data collection methods that may be semi-structured or unstructured techniques. Some data collection methods include observations, interviews and focus groups.

An example of a qualitative research article is “Breaking down the barriers to cancer immunotherapy” (Puré, Allison & Schreiber, 2005).

Quantitative research involves variables that can be precisely and accurately measured. In quantitative research, the problem is viewed in terms of data, which is quantified numerical terms in solving the problem. Quantitative research quantifies variables, behaviors, opinions, and attitudes to name a few. It uses data that is measurable for fact formulation. The data collection methods have more structure. They include systematic observations, online polls, website interceptors, longitudinal studies and paper surveys to name a few.

An example of quantitative research in business is “By the Numbers: Total unaided awareness” (Hellebusch, 2006). Qualitative research focusses on the use of words while quantitative focusses on using numbers.


Qualitative research strengths

  1. The case can be used to provide an in-depth explanation of a certain phenomenon to the targeted audience.
  2. Can be used to determine the causes of a particular event.
  3. The case information concerning an individual can be provided by the study.
  4. Is effective in the in-depth study of phenomena especially when the number of cases is limited.
  5. Provides description and understanding of various experiences that people have regarding certain phenomena


  1. The findings may only relate to a few people and not everyone in general
  2. Quantitative prediction is difficult to make
  3. When using many participants, it becomes difficult to test theories and hypothesis
  4. Much time is used when collecting data than when one uses quantitative methods
  5. It takes a lot of time to analyses data

Quantitative research strengths

  1. Data collection is done quickly
  2. Data analysis is fast
  3. Generalization of data can be done if eh random samples are of a sufficient size.
  4. Provides precise numerical quantitative data.
  5. The analysis of data takes a shorter time
  6. It is efficient when the sample sizes are large.


  1. The researcher can miss confirmation bias by focusing more on testing his theory or hypothesis.
  2. The results may be too general and abstract or application, in particular, various individuals, situation or contexts.

Combining both in concurrent mixed design methods, help one type of data validate the other and hence increase effectiveness and precision of the study. Mixed research, in this case, involves the collection of data by using all procedures concerned with both qualitative and quantitative data. Since some disadvantages can be dealt with by the other method of research, using the two methods enhance the accuracy and precision the data collected.  Therefore, one form of data is validated using the other. The concurrent mixed method provides an avenue where data can be transformed and compared with the relevant questions.

Quantitative research will give more information that is needed in dealing with a business problem like finding new markets. Qualitative research enables one to access data that involves a lot of businesses especially in marketing that will help in determining the problem at hand. Going into the field may not provide enough information on the competition facing the business and the segments in the market. I would, therefore, focus on using the available data and coming up with various conclusions that will help find a concrete solution.

Qualitative Research

Qualitative research

Qualitative research is a method of societal inquest that emphases on the approach people make sense of their understanding and the world in which they live. A number of diverse methods exist within the broader context of this type of inquiry, and numerous of these share the similar objective such as understanding, describing and inferring social occurrences as observed by individuals, groups and cultures(Holloway & Wheeler, 2010). Investigators use qualitative methodologies to discover the behavior, feeling and experiences of society and what lies at the essential of their lives. For example, ethnographers’concentration on customs and culture; grounded theorists explore social progressions and relations, while phenomenologist contemplate and brightenan occurrence and define the life world(Van der Heide, et al., 2010).

The main features of qualitative research

Qualitative research from various fields share common features and follow similar procedures but different data collection and analysis methods could be applicable. Some of the similar elements include:

  • Qualitative research prioritize on the primacy of data. In simple terms, the theoretical framework is directly determined from the data.
  • Qualitative research requires the investigators to be context sensitive since the research is context-bound.
  • Qualitative research allows the researchers to engross themselves in the natural situation of the people whose performance and considerations they wish to explore.
  • Qualitative researchers put more emphasis on the emic viewpoint, the opinions of the people tangled in the research and their insights, importance and interpretations.
  • Qualitative research requires the application of thick description that involves description, analysis and interpretation, researchers are expected to go beyond the construction of the participants.

Define qualitative research and provide two examples of qualitative designs with a brief explanation of each design.

  1. Define qualitative research and provide two examples of qualitative designs with a brief explanation of each design.
  2. Identify a potential qualitative research study that is important to nursing and describe which design you would use for this study, why you would use that design, and how the information generated from the study could be applied in nursing practice.
  3. End your discussion with a reflection as to the value of qualitative research adding to the science, knowledge, and practice of nursing.
  4. Provide at least three citations with full references to credible nursing scholarly articles supporting your definitions and discussion.
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