What is qualitative – Troubleinthepeace

What is qualitative research method?

Qualitative research methods is an exploratory research method in which data is collected mainly in qualitative form. In market research, the main techniques used in qualitative research are discussion (hand-to-hand, group discussion) and deductive techniques.

Examples of qualitative research

As mentioned above, qualitative research aims to explore the problem, often used when managers do not understand consumer behavior. For example, the administrator wants to know the preferred product features, or the user’s attitude towards the communication concept.

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Data collection in qualitative research

Qualitative research aims to uncover hidden thoughts within research subjects. So we cannot use a structured questionnaire with clear questions to ask. In qualitative research, researchers often use discussion techniques: one-on-one discussion, group discussion, and deductive reasoning.

Hand-to-hand discussion

Direct discussion between two people including the researcher and the subject being studied. This is used in the following cases:

Sensitive topics are not suitable for asking in groups of many people. It is difficult to arrange research subjects to discuss together once. Study subjects are not willing to share if many people are discussed or exchanged. Direct exchange between 2 people is more convenient

Discussion groups

This is a common method of data collection in qualitative research.  Many research subjects are invited to discuss together under the coordinator of the researcher (called a moderator).  The role of the moderator is very important, determining the quality of the discussion results.


Some rules for choosing members to participate in group discussions

The more homogeneous the subject of discussion, the better. Members of the same age, or the same level of education… are easy to communicate openly. Do not choose experienced people. They risk leading the discussion. Do not choose members who know each other. These members are at risk of talking to each other in the group discussion, affecting the researcher’s coordination.

When conducting group discussions, it is necessary to prepare all necessary equipment such as 1-way glasses, audio and video recording equipment.


In deductive data collection, the researcher provides a context and allows the subject to express himself. Self-expression here can be: fill in a blank in the passage, add a property related to an object, imagine the character of the characters representing some object…

Sampling in qualitative research

Regarding the object of data collection, the researcher needs to choose the subject to get the data (through the above-mentioned discussion and interpretation techniques) in the group of research subjects.

That is, if the researcher investigates consumer behavior in Ho Chi Minh City, it is not possible to interview people in Hanoi.

In terms of sample size, qualitative research is aimed at finding out and discovering the characteristics, properties, etc., NOT NUMBERING those characteristics. That is, not to answer the question “How much”. Therefore, the researcher does not need to take a probability sample.

In qualitative research, people often take the critical method. After learning some objects, if no new features are discovered, people stop sampling.

Because of the way the sample size is selected as above, qualitative research usually has a small sample size.

Data analysis in qualitative research

Data in qualitative research is analyzed through 3 steps: phenomenon description, phenomenon classification and phenomenon connection.

For ease of understanding, let’s consider the case of Sherlock Holmes’ deduction in the movie The Dancing Men.

Synopsis of the movie scene:

An English aristocrat married an American named Elsie. 2 people live happily.

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One day, there were some strange characters in the garden.

Elsie panicked.

Another strange series of characters.

Elsie replied with strange characters.

Strange characters again.

See picture Here is how Sherlock Holmes does it.

Description of the phenomenon: the aristocrat was asked to write it down in full and send it to Holmes. Classification of the phenomenon: the above pictures are dancing figures. Some repeat, the frequency of repetition varies. Phenomenal connection: Holmes guessed that the dancing dolls only substituted for alphabetic characters. In English, the letter “e” is repeated the most. The letter “e” is assigned to the doll with the most frequency in the above step for testing.

Doing the above is qualitative research.

Note: the step to describe the phenomenon in the above example in the above case is quite simple.  In fact, human behavior is not easily discovered by describing such a simple phenomenon (copying characters on paper).  Which is usually recorded, full video recording so that the researcher has sufficient data for the phenomenon classification step and phenomenon connection.


In other specific cases, the data and qualitative research object may be different, but the researcher still performs through 3 steps: describing the phenomenon, classifying the phenomenon, and connecting the phenomenon.


The above is an overview of qualitative research. It is not difficult to see, but to do it correctly is not easy.

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If there is still something you want to clarify, you can comment by commenting below.


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