Sociology Index


Qualitative Research is research using qualitative research methods such as participant observation or case studies which result in a narrative, descriptive account of a setting or practice. Sociologists using qualitative research methods typically reject positivism and adopt a form of interpretive theory. Qualitative research approaches are employed across many academic disciplines, focusing particularly on the human elements of the social and natural sciences.

Qualitative research is a scientific method of observation to gather non-numerical data. Research methods can be classified in various ways, however one of the most common distinctions is between qualitative analysis research and quantitative research methods. Quantitative research methods were originally developed in the natural sciences to study natural phenomena. 

Qualitative Research in Information Systems and Overview of Qualitative Research, Michael D Myers.
Introduction: This section is dedicated to qualitative research in Information Systems (IS). Qualitative research involves the use of qualitative data, such as interviews, documents, and participant observation data to explain social phenomena. Qualitative researchers can be found in many disciplines and fields, using a variety of approaches, methods and techniques. In Information Systems, there has been an increasing interest in the application of qualitative research methods.

This section is organized as follows. After a general overview of qualitative research, philosophical perspectives which can inform qualitative research are discussed. This is followed by sections on qualitative research methods, qualitative research techniques, and modes of analyzing and interpreting qualitative data. This is then followed by a number of sub-sections that relate to qualitative research in general, i.e. citation lists, links to resources on the Internet for qualitative researchers, links to software tools and calls for papers. The goal is to provide the IS community with useful information on qualitative research in IS.

Overview of Qualitative Research

Qualitative research methods were developed in the social sciences to enable researchers to study social and cultural phenomena. Examples of qualitative methods are action research, case study research and ethnography. Qualitative data sources include observation and participant observation, interviews and questionnaires, documents and texts, and the researcher's impressions and reactions (Myers 2009).

Qualitative research methods are designed to help researchers understand people and the social and cultural contexts within which they live. As well as the qualitative research and quantitative research distinction, there are other distinctions which are commonly made.

Qualitative Research - What Does It Have to Offer to the Gerontologist?
Ann Kuckelman Cobba and Sarah Forbesa - The Journals of Gerontology Series A: Biological Sciences and Medical Sciences (2002).
Qualitative methods have a long tradition in disciplines such as sociology and anthropology and are being used with greater frequency as interdisciplinary health-related disciplines attempt to understand and explain complex problems. The purpose of this article is to define and describe the main features of qualitative research and to examine ways in which this methodology is relevant and useful in gerontological studies. A review of the three most common approaches is provided. Most important, references are provided for those gerontologists interested in learning more about qualitative research methods.