Q1/Respond to one of the following questions and :
1. Miles, Huberman and Saldaña (2014) graphically present a case study as a circle with a heart in the center. The heart is the focus of the study, and the circle
“defines the edge of the case: what will not be studied.”
Develop a graphic for each of the other types of qualitative research discussed in this chapter.
2. What ethical issues are raised by the researcher’s role as coauthor when conducting narrative inquiry?
Types of Qualitative Research
Some Common Types of QR
1. Basic/interpretive –
2. Phenomenological –
3. Grounded theory –
4. Case study –
6. Narrative inquiry-
Which type of qualitative study is each of the following likely to be?
————-1. How a severely physically disabled young man adapts to college life.
————2. A model and some hypotheses of the interrelationships among factors
leading to the successful completion of a job training program.
————3. The stories of older adults learning to use computers.
————4. Strategies adult students use to balance school, work, and family.
————5. How women engineers negotiate power in the male-dominated engineering
————6. How the socio-cultural context contributes to longevity of the oldest old
(centenarians) in Okinauwa.
______ 7. How feelings of fear and inadequacy affect graduate students’ performance.
______ 8. Dealing with an autistic child: One family’s story.
______9. School leaders’ strategies for successfully Implementing technology in the
this is the book you are going to use
Merriam, S. (2009). Qualitative research: A guide to design and implementation. San Franciso, CA: Jossey-Bass.
Chapter Two: Six Common Qualitative Research Designs
I. Unit Objectives
There is no consensus as to how to classify “the baffling numbers of choices or approaches” to qualitative research. In this unit we discuss six types of qualitative
research commonly found in social sciences and applied fields of practice: basic qualitative research, phenomenology, grounded theory, ethnography, narrative analysis,
and qualitative case study. Figure 2.1 offers a summary of the types of qualitative research discussed in this chapter. These types of qualitative research have some
common attributes, but each has a somewhat different focus, resulting in variations in how the research question might be asked, sample selection, data collection and
analysis, and write-up. There can also be overlaps in these types of research, where a researcher may combine two or more, such as in an ethnographic case study.
II. Basic Qualitative Research
Basic qualitative studies can be found throughout academic social science disciplines and in applied fields of practice (especially education). Researchers conducting
a basic qualitative study are interested in (1) how people interpret their experiences, (2) how they construct their worlds, and (3) what meaning they attribute to
their experiences. The overall purpose is to understand how people make sense of their lives and their experiences. (The other types of qualitative studies discussed
in this lesson have these characteristics plus an additional dimension.)
Data collection is through interviews, observations, or document analysis. What questions are asked, what is observed, and what documents are deemed relevant will
depend on the disciplinary theoretical framework of the study.
Data analysis involves identifying recurring patterns that characterize the data.
Findings are these recurring patterns or themes supported by the data from which they were derived.
The overall interpretation will be the researcher’s understanding of the participants’ understanding of the phenomenon of interest.
In a phenomenological approach the researcher isolates a phenomenon in order to depict the essence or basic structure of experience. This approach is well suited to
studying affective, emotional, and often intense human experiences.
The phenomenological interview is the primary method of data collection. The experiences of different people are bracketed, analyzed, and compared to identify the
essences of a phenomenon such as loneliness, being a mother, or being a participant in a particular program.
Epoche (refraining from judgment)/Bracketing: To prepare for the interview, the researcher explores his or her own experiences, in part to examine dimensions of the
experience and in part to become aware of personal biases and assumptions and “bracket” them (set them aside). This practice is now recognized and used by researchers
using other qualitative research designs.
Phenomenological reduction: continually returning to the essence of the experience to derive the inner structure or meaning in and of itself.
Horizontalization: laying out all the data for examination and treating the data as having equal weight at the initial data analysis stage. These data are then
organized into clusters or themes.
Imaginative variation: viewing the data from various perspectives, as if one were walking around a modern sculpture, seeing different things from different angles.
The product of a phenomenological study is a composite description that presents the core meaning–the essential, invariant structure (or essence)–of a commonly
Ethnography focuses on human society and culture: the beliefs, values, and attitudes that structure the behavior patterns of a specific group of people. According to
Muncey’s criteria, something is “cultural” if it is shared, recognized, and transferable.
Participant observer: Data collection is primarily by immersion in the site as a participant observer. Interviews and analysis of documents, records, and artifacts
constitute the data set along with a fieldworker’s diary of each day’s happenings, personal feelings, ideas, impressions, or insights with regard to those events.
Thick description: The end product of research is characterized by thick description–a comprehensive context within which behaviors, institutions, etc. can be
intelligibly described–as well as interpretation. (Note that the term ethnography denotes both the research technique and its end product.)
Example: The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down, by Anne Fadiman (1997), a study of a Hmong child in the United States whose medical condition brought about the
collision of two cultures’ views of medicine and healing. The study conveys the intensive and sustained immersion in the setting and the extensive data gathering
necessary to produce a cultural interpretation of the phenomenon.
Emic vs. Etic: Organization of data in ethnography depends on discipline. Anthropologists often use preexisting category schemes of social and cultural behaviors and
characteristics (etic/outsider perspective). Researchers in other fields focusing on culture are likely to organize their findings into schemes derived from the data
themselves (emic/insider perspective).
V. Grounded Theory
What differentiates grounded theory from other types of qualitative research is its focus on building theory. The type of theory developed is usually “substantive”
(having specific, real-world implications) rather than formal. Grounded theory is particularly useful for addressing questions about process, that is, how something
changes over time. Data can come from interviews, observations, and a wide variety of documentary materials. The researcher assumes an inductive stance and strives to
derive meaning from the data. The result of this type of qualitative study is a theory that emerges from, or is “grounded” in, the data.
Theoretical sampling is the data collection method. The researcher concurrently collects, codes, and analyzes data, then and decides what data to collect next and
where to find them, in order to develop theory as it emerges.
The constant comparative method of data analysis compares one segment of data with another to determine similarities and differences. The overall object of this
analysis is to identify patterns in the data. The researcher arranges these patterns in relationships to each other in the building of a grounded theory.
Conceptual elements of a grounded theory are a core category, other categories, properties, and hypotheses.
The core category is the main conceptual element through which all other categories and properties are connected. It must be related to as many other categories and
their properties as is possible, must appear frequently in the data, and must develop the theory.
Categories, and the properties that define or illuminate them, are conceptual elements of the theory, all of which are inductively derived from (“grounded”) in the
Hypotheses are tentative relationships drawn among categories and properties. These hypotheses are derived from the study. (Note the contrast with quantitative
research, wherein hypotheses are set out at the beginning of the study to be tested.)
VI. Narrative Inquiry
First-person accounts of experience constitute the narrative “text” of this research approach: autobiographies, interviews, journals, letters, in-depth interview
transcripts, life history narratives, historical memoirs, and creative nonfiction. The researcher analyzes the text to understand the meaning it has for its author,
essentially becoming a coauthor, either directly, such as by interviewing the author to elicit an account, or indirectly, by representing and thus transforming others’
texts and discourses.
Hermeneutics: To make sense of and interpret a text, it is important to know what the author wanted to communicate, to understand intended meanings, and to place
documents in a historical and cultural context.
Methodologies: Biographical, psychological, and linguistic approaches are the most common. Each approach examines, in some way, how the story is constructed, what
linguistic tools are used, and/or the cultural context of the story.
VII. Qualitative Case Studies
Case study research is a qualitative approach in which the investigator explores a bounded system (a case) or multiple bounded systems (cases) through detailed, in-
depth data collection involving multiple sources of information (e.g., observations, interviews, audiovisual material, and documents and reports), and reports a case
description and case-based themes. A case study differs from the other types of qualitative research because it is defined by the unit of analysis rather than the
topic of study.
Case: A case could be a single person who is an example of some phenomenon, a program, a group, an institution, a community, or a specific policy. The unit of
analysis, not the topic of investigation, characterizes a case study.
Bounded system: If the phenomenon you are interested in studying is not intrinsically bounded, it is not a case. One technique for assessing the boundedness of your
topic is to ask how finite the data collection would be.
Comparative case studies: These involve collecting and analyzing data from several cases. The more cases included in a study, and the greater the variation across the
cases, the more compelling your interpretation is likely to be; this is a common strategy for enhancing the external validity or generalizability of your findings.
VIII. When the Types of Qualitative Research Overlap
There are many more particular types of qualitative research than the six identified here, and some qualitative studies that are a combination of types: ethnographic
case study; grounded theory combined with case study; ethnographic study that makes use of narrative interviews as part of the data collection. How a qualitative
researcher designs a study is determined in part by its theoretical framework as well as by its purpose. When determining the specific type of qualitative study for
your investigation, it is helpful to examine numerous sources of literature in order to justify your selection.