Qualitative Research: Idealist Ontology

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Qualitative research aims to comprehend the meaning of human action and investigates phenomenon as it occurs in its natural context through subjective means of inquiry (Carter & Little, 2001 & Hoft, 2011). This paper sets out to identify four features of research as they apply to qualitative research: ontology, epistemology, methodology, and sampling, through the investigation of the article "The health-care environment on a locked psychiatric ward: An ethnographic study" (Johansson, Skarsater & Danielson, 2006). Idealist ontology holds the belief that research knowledge is made up of subjective experiences obtained through observation that is consistently influenced by the researcher's interpretations (Giacomini, 2010). Qualitative…show more content…
Based on the previous theoretical foundations, methodology is chosen to guide the research process and justify methods (Giacomini, 2010; Carter & Little, 2007). Ethnography is a common methodology in qualitative research and was utilized by the researchers, with a participant observational approach, to become immersed in the culture of the locked psychiatric ward to seek an intimate interpretative understanding of the patients and staff within their environment (Giacomini, 2010). Ethnography has the ability to portray life inside the study experience, which allow researchers to discover what is significant from the viewpoints and actions of the participants and include the reader in this experience (Charmaz, 2004). The researchers in the study provide examples of field notes that were collected during observations which were analyzed into themes and sub-themes. The two main themes "to have control" and "to be controlled" are then further articulated in more detail through the viewpoints of both the patients and the staff to allow the reader to fully understand the lived experience. Lastly, all participants in qualitative research are selected to serve an investigative purpose rather than be considered a statistical representation of a population (Carter & Little,

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