I don’t see a thread yet for the question “Why is qualitative research often considered less useful than quantitative and what can qualitative research do to overcome that?” So I am starting one. If it needs to be moved let me know!
I was struck by the quote on the link provided about the classic debate (http://wilderdom.com/research/QualitativeVersusQuantitativeResearch.html), “There’s no such thing as qualitative data. Everything is either 1 or 0.” In my opinion, rich answers that lead to more in-depth questions lie in the gray of qualitative research. If the researcher’s role is to be involved and empathetic and to focus more on the subject matter than the methodology as the module reading stated, then the perspective of the researcher can play a large role in the outcome if we’re not careful. I can see how this perceived lack of objectivity could cloud trust for qualitative studies. But there are ways to add validity to these studies to negate this negative bias:
(Campus labs https://baselinesupport.campuslabs.com/hc/en-us/articles/204305695-Avoiding-bias-in-qualitative-data-analysis)
1. Use multiple people to code the data.
2. Have participants review your results.
3. Verify with more data sources (triangulation).
4. Check for alternative explanations.
5. Review findings with peers.
These seem like reasonable suggestions that could add validity to qualitative studies.
Qualitative research may be viewed as less useful than quantitative research because it is often based on social situations or answering philosophical social questions (Wood & Welch, 2010). The qualitative results are subjective to the respondents view, relative to the unique situation, and data is subjective and restricted to the interpretation of the observer (Wood & Welch, 2010).
Qualitative bias can be overcome when the observer stays as objective as possible. Bias can be limited when multiple people are used to code the date, have participants review the results, verify data with more data sources, check for alternative explanations, and review your findings with peers (Google, Avoiding Bias in Qualitative Data Analysis). Sept 28, 2018
Qualitative research has many benefits. It can build on the respondents’ comments and ideas. There are often interviews or group discussions that engage the respondents more than a structured qualitative survey (Google, What is Qualitative Research). Sep 28, 2018. The interviewer can probe deeper by asking open ended questions, asking the “Help me understand why you feel that way?” questions and/or leads. Qualitative research also provides opportunities to observe, record, and interpret non-verbal communication like body language and voice intonation as part of the respondent’s feedback. It can engage the respondent in play activities, or natural activities like walking and/or exercise, that can help the respondent overcome anxiety leading to spontaneous reactions and/or comments. A researcher can collect qualitative data through interviews or small groups, collecting and reading respondents journal entries, phone calls, and video conferencing (Google, What is Qualitative Research). Sep 28, 2018
Wood, M., Welch, C. (2010). Methodological Innovations Online. Are ‘Qualitative’ and ‘Quantitative’ Useful Terms for Describing Research?, 5 (1) p. 56-71, http://journals.sagepub.com/doi/pdf/10.4256/mio.2010.0010
Google, How to Overcome Bias in Qualitative Research. Sep 28, 2018. https://www.google.com/search?q=how+do+you+overcome+qualitative+bias%3F&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&client=firefox-b-1
Google, What is Qualitative Research. Sep 28, 2018. https://www.qrca.org/page/whatisqualresearch
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