What is Qualitative Research Design? Methods and Types

Qualitative research targets on conveying meaning and comprehension via detailed description. Due to which, it can be a powerful method for exploring educational issues, that demands to develop a comprehension of complex social settings and the meaning that people within those settings bring to their real-life experience.The qualitative design is completely opposite to the quantitative research approach. At the forefront, it differs in the problematic field.

The approaches vary in a philosophical view of the world, in a set of goals and in methods, designs used for research.Qualitative research vs. quantitative relies on quality or meaning of experience trying to describe or comprehend the essence or nature of human experience. Qualitative vs. quantitative research integrates more subjective human experience rather than purely objective external reality.

It refers to the school of constructivism or interpretivism, while quantitative research is grounded in positivism.Additionally, qualitative research aims to describe, comprehend, discover the value or install a hypothesis or theory which extremely differs from quantitative targets – to control, predict, test and confirm the hypothesis.

What is Qualitative Research Design?

When designing your qualitative research project keep in mind several useful design tips:

  • Establish a purpose for your qualitative study.
  • Locate your method.
  • Scope your project.
  • Plan the nature of your data.

  • Think ahead.

Qualitative research is subjective. It challenges the qualitative researcher to analyze data in order to form ideas. As we’ve already learned, it often uses open-ended questions for interviews. Let’s regard an example of qualitative research design. Imagine, you want to find out if a youth program affects the lives of underprivileged teens.

First of all, you talk to the participants and ask them what the real situation is. Then interpret the collected answers.Let’s take a look at the example of narrative research. It gathers data through stories. You use it when someone is willing to tell his or her story, and it’s worth reporting, or when you want a microanalytic picture. When focusing on qualitative narrative research follow this design:

  • Define a phenomenon which explores your research.

    Find the one, that raises educational issues.

  • Choose a participant, who can give you the right and concrete information about the issue you’re studying.
  • Collect the data from that participant.
  • 4Retell or restore the story in chronological order.
  • Cooperate with the individual.
  • Write a story about the participant’s experience.

  • Confirm the accuracy of the report and be happy, because you’ve completed qualitative research.


Qualitative methodology field includes 5 principal methods. Those are:

  1. case study (investigates an activity, an event, a process or one, or several individuals in depth);
  2. ethnography (studies a cultural group in a common setting for a prolonged period of time);
  3. grounded theory (derives a general abstract theory of an action, process or influence based on the views of participants);
  4. narrative approaches (study the information that participants tell about their lives and experiences);
  5. phenomenology (identifies the essence of human experiences).

As well as, a case study has an opportunity to bend several methods into justified research design. A case study is, perhaps, the most widely used methodology due to its flexibility.Data for qualitative researches are typically obtained from different sources such as focus groups, interviews, observations of real-life settings, and documents.

As you plan your research study, you must complete justification for your data collection methods. In order to define, why the methods you are going to use are the most suitable and most productive ways to comprehend the focus of your study.Qualitative researches follow three basic steps when analyzing the data:

  1. Drafting and organizing data. This could be transcribing the interview, organizing field notes from observations or ensuring all documents used in the analysis are available.
  2. Categorizing data into themes. The qualitative researches identify the data by themes, coding data elements and creating categories.
  3. Presenting the collected data.

From now on, do not hesitate! Use the qualitative research and affect the world.