Essay on An Analysis of Qualitative Research Methods

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An Analysis of Qualitative Research Methods Qualitative political and historical researchers seek to analyze social or political phenomena from multiple perspectives in order to gain an in-depth understanding of their research topic, as well as insight into the broader scope of their disciplines. They accomplish these goals by using case-specific methods that are designed to generate knowledge and yet are limiting in that same area. Because of their selectively designed character, each of these methods will neither generate a multi-dimensional analysis of a given research topic, nor address the serious validity issues often associated with qualitative research. Nonetheless, they are productive approaches for evaluating the…show more content…
Essentially, the method itself is a process that is tailored to accomplish specific research goals, which include generating a specific type of understanding of a given state of affairs. Depending on the type of understanding desired, "researchers may adopt particular methodological positions which establish how they go about studying a phenomenon" (Seale, 328). The design of each of these methods is to be distinguished from quantitative models, which are usually founded on statistical and rigorous mathematical paradigms. In contrast, qualitative researchers-especially in history and political science-often engage in descriptive research, which involves broader concepts of design and less math. Harrison (2001) writes, "qualitative research 'tends to focus on exploring, in as much detail as possible, smaller numbers of instances [than quantitative designs] or examples which are seen as being interesting or illuminating, and aims to achieve "depth" rather than "breadth" (Harrison, 74). Qualitative methods can be understood as the instruments or technology that researchers in political science and history use in their profession, just as technicians would use mechanical tools in their profession. Invariably, this type of research requires standards and helpful mechanisms that can generate depth of
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