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Qualitative Research for Instructional Technology Essay

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Qualitative Research


Qualitative Research Defined:

The simplest way to define qualitative research is to say that it is a type of research which involves interpreting nonnumerical data. The underlying belief of qualitative research is that "meaning is situated in a particular perspective or context, and, since different people and groups have different perspectives and contexts, there are many different meanings in the world, none of which is necessarily more valid or true than another" (Gay & Airasian, 1996). A qualitative researcher, therefore, believes that the world cannot be pinned down by objective meanings, but that all variables must be taken into account when conducting research, including the past experiences and personalities of the researcher. According to Peck and Secker (1999), this idea has three important implications from a research perspective:

First, it follows that the purpose of research is not to establish objective facts about the social world because objective knowledge is impossible; rather, the aim is to explore how research participants understand, or make sense of, the topics in which we are interested. Second, the theories we arrive at as researchers are also inevitably our own interpretations of research participants' understandings and not simply a reflection of them. Finally, for readers and reviewers to assess qualitative research, it is necessary to present a "thick description" of the data, illustrate this with substantial extracts, and make the processes of the analysis transparent.

How Qualitative Research differs from Quantitative Research:

In order to gain a clearer understanding of qualitative research, it is necessary to compare its basic purpose and focus to those ...


... middle of paper ...


...tative research is a valuable form of research to use in order to interpret the everyday life situations that cannot be measured through quantitative methods.



References

Gay, L. R., & Airasian, Peter. (1999). Educational Research: Competencies for Analysis and Application, Sixth Edition, Upper Saddle River, NJ: Merrill.

Palmerino, Mark. (1999). "Take a quality approach to qualitative research". Marketing News, 33, 35-36.

Peck, Edward & Secker, Jenny. (1999). "Quality criteria for qualitative research: Does context make a difference?". Qualitative Health Research, 9, 552-558.

Putney, LeAnn & Green, Judith. (1999). "Evolution of qualitative research methodology: Looking beyond defense to possibilities". Reading Research Quarterly, 34, 368-377.

Tema-Lyn, Laurie. (1999). "Five ways to get more out of qualitative research". Marketing News, 33, 38.


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