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There, qualitative studies are conducted to know the physical, chemical and biological "qualities" of the investigation object. Nature Sciences researchers often refer to the application of qualitative methods while conducting studies, for example, in biology areas, specifically in medical parasitology, with the objective of detecting the presence of protozoans in collected material for clinical testing. It is used the term qualitative , evidently with a specific meaning within its epistemological-methodological model.

For that, the researcher will employ techniques such as sample collection according to well-defined procedures; storage in adequate containers, careful sample identification and sample analysis in a well-equipped laboratory. In short, the researcher will study in-depth a particular natural phenomenon and describe its properties, carrying out a qualitative research in Natural Sciences. Reading only this definition cannot be enough for an accurate understanding by readers not familiarized with this research approach.

Qualitative Research for Education: An Introduction to Theories and Methods, Fifth Edition

It is again underlined that researchers' are not directly interested in studying the phenomenon itself, but their actual target is the meaning the phenomenon have for those experiencing it. They seek to grasp the processes by which people construct meanings and to describe what those meanings are". These authors also assume meaning as the key concept.

It is inferred that qualitative researchers does not want to explain events in peoples' life, individually or collectively, by listing and measuring their behaviors or quantitatively correlating their life events. Conversely, their intention is to gain an in-depth knowledge of people's life experiences and their representations of these experiences.

In its broad scope, however, the word theory gains strength, which implies that qualitative method is not only a research approach that meets specific demands, but it has the common purpose of creating a model for in-depth understanding of the links among elements, i. It is also underlined the term process , particularly powerful here, which characterizes the qualitative method as designed to understand how the study object happens or develops; and not to aim at the product , that is, mathematically estimated results.

The inductive reasoning relates to the fact that these researchers would ground their work on field data, further exploring individualities and collecting information that would gradually help to build up a plausible and dense theory.

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Emic means that scientists' interpretations should be made from the interviewees' perspective and should not be a discussion from the researcher's or the literature's view. Original knowledge should be gained and they should not focus on corroborating the already existing theories as this does not contribute to science advancement.

The term meaning gains relevance in the social context in trying to understand the "want to say" regarding to these structures for the study subjects. The whole scientific undertaking must be supported by three pillars, which work as delimiting characteristics and consist of the following attitudes: existentialist, clinic and psychoanalytic.

They provide, respectively, a welcome attitude to human being's inherent angst and anxieties; a proper approach of those who already work with therapeutic aid; and the listening and the valuing of mobilized psychodynamic aspects, overall in their affective and direct relationship with the study subjects.

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This method has proved to be adequate for qualitative research already carried out in the health area. First, the researcher's interest turns toward the search for the meaning of things because it has an organizing role in human beings. What "things" phenomena, manifestations, occurrences, facts, events, life experiences, ideas, feelings, subjects represent shape people's lives.

At another level, the meanings "things" acquire are culturally shared and so organize the social group around these representations and symbolisms. In health settings in particular, knowing the meanings of phenomena of the health-disease process is essential for the following: to improve the quality of professional-patient relationship; to promote better adherence of patients and general population to individually administered treatments and collectively implemented preventive measures; to better understand certain feelings, ideas and behaviors of patients as well as their family members and even health professionals.

Second, in this approach, the subjects' natural setting is unequivocally the field, where observation, without variable control, takes place. Third, researchers are themselves a research instrument as they use their sensory organs to grasp the study objects, mirroring them in their consciousness, where they then are converted into phenomenological representations to be interpreted. Fourth, this method has greater data validity strength since the thorough accurate observation and in-depth interview listening of subjects are likely to lead researchers very close to the essence of the study issue.

For instructive purposes, it is now relevant to draw the comparative profiles between the characteristics of both qualitative and quantitative methodologies applied to health. Table 1 illustrates the conceptual levels of both methodologies.

First it shows the scientific attitude one should adopt when using either one of these methods. It can also be seen the strengths reliability versus validity as well as the actual limits of the subject under study in each approach; and then the dissimilarities in the different study designs and research instruments are identified.


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The critical point is to show the differences in sampling technique and subject sample profile. Data analysis shows distinctive refining of collected data in both methods. Finally, it should be made clear what in fact the conclusions are in each method and the resulting work of disentangling the knots concerning the intended and the possible generalization from both quantitative and qualitative research.

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Seller Inventory n. Robert Bogdan ; Sari Knopp Biklen. Publisher: Pearson , This specific ISBN edition is currently not available. View all copies of this ISBN edition:. Synopsis The purpose of this introductory level text is to provide the reader with a background for understanding the uses of qualitative research in education, to examine its theoretical and historical underpinnings, and to discuss specific methods for conducting qualitative research.


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