Introduction to Qualitative Research

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This chapter introduces the fundamental elements of qualitative research methods, beginning with a definition of qualitative of research, followed by discussion on the evolution of qualitative research methods and how it is different from quantitative research methods. Also discussed is the importance of ethical considerations when doing qualitative research.

Just like all research, qualitative research is a type of research that seeks answers to a question; is systematically conducted and involves the collection of evidence. However, the uniqueness of qualitative research is that you may produce findings that were not determined in advance
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Qualitative methods have become important tools in applied research, in large part because they provide valuable insights into the local perspectives of the population studied. The great contribution of qualitative research is the culturally specific and contextually rich data it produces. Such data are proving critical in the design of comprehensive solutions to problems in various disciplines. For example, the success of intervention programmes in education, health, nursing and psychology rests on how well it addresses socio-behavioural factors such as cultural norms, ethnic identities, gender norms, stigma, and socioeconomic status; i.e. gain an insight into “WHY’ (see Figure 1.1).

Gain insight into people’s” - WHY?

Figure 1.1 Qualitative Research Seeks to Gain Insight into “WHY”

In the 1950s and 60s, research in education was very much influenced by the behaviouristic perspective which used the scientific method in studying animal behaviour which later was generalised to humans. This is described as the quantitative approach which dominated much of educational research until the publication of the book The Structure of Scientific Revolutions by Thomas Kuhn. The ideas proposed by Kuhn played a significant role in influencing scientific thinking.

A) PARADIGM SHIFT He introduced the concept of
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