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The Value Of Qualitative Research

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Qualitative research is interpretative research. It helps with access the thoughts and feelings of an participants, which can allow development of understanding to the way the self considers its past and present experience. Qualitative approaches have been used to study several different topics and can help researchers understand how and why certain behaviors happen.

Reflection is required from the researcher when conducting qualitative research, both before and during the process in order to provide context and understanding to its audience. The researcher’s role in conducting a qualitative research study is to try and gain access to the thoughts and feelings of the participants within the study. This would involve the researcher asking the participants to discuss things that may be personal, which can be hard. For instance, sometimes the experience being studied is still fresh in the participants mind and on other occasions reliving past experiences may be difficult. However, a researches responsibility is to safeguard not only the participants but their data as well.

The text describes an ethnography as a detailed portrait of a culture-sharing group. An ethnography approach requires a researcher to use direct observation in order to study the participants in their real-life environment over a certain time span. Ethnography is a kind of qualitive research, it gathers observations, documentary data and interviews in order to provide details and understand different social phenomena. Before going to the actual location in study, a researcher’s role is to gather as much information about the location in order to learn some of what is already known, just to be prepared. Then the researcher spends as much time with the participants in order to get a sense of understanding on how they live, their beliefs and rituals, and their interaction with others and their surroundings.

Qualitative research helps to develop ideas and/or hypothesis to a problem by collecting, analyzing and interpreting data based on a society’s behavior. It gathers non-numerical data or “reasons behind a certain behavior” and focuses on evaluating, clarifying and understanding the participants behavior and attitude. Qualitive research has lots of advantages, but just like all good things there are disadvantages to it. One major disadvantage in qualitative research is that it cannot quantify how many participants will answer one way or another, which can make it difficult to create a solid statistic on the participants. Another concern in qualitative research is no generalization. Unlike quantitative research, once data is collected from a participant in qualitative research, the findings cannot be generalized. In qualitative research, the findings cannot be used as the basis for a broader audience or general public. The rigidity of data is also a concern in qualitative research. Because the data collected is based on the participants perspective, it makes it hard to then prove on the rigidity of the collected information. Another concern is the repetitive research required due to the small sample sizes qualitative research rely on. Because a small sample size is not representative of a large sample size, the research will require a follow up with a large sample size for more accurate data.

Ethnographical research is generally vast and requires a long-term commitment to gain a participant’s perspective. Ethnographical researchers must travel long distances where they spend a lot of time learning about participants language, understanding a participant’s unfamiliar ways of life, and most importantly working to be accepted by the participants surroundings. Ethnographers use interviews, participant observation, and fieldwork to gain an in-depth understanding of their participants everyday environment and the social meanings attached to their culture. Ethnographical researchers face several challenges as well. One challenge is being an insider. An insider approach is a great way to strengthen the relationship between the researcher and participants, but the blurred boundaries within that relationship is what can become a challenge. For example, when a participant seeks advise in relation to the observed study, it is important for the researcher to step back and re-inform the boundaries of the relationship in order to ensure the validity of the findings. Data collection is also a challenge researcher face in ethnographical research.

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Data collection can be a challenge in ethnographic studies because data collection often ends when time and resources have been exhausted, which then results in the researcher withdrawing from the field. The relationship and intimacy that is created between the researchers and participants in qualitative studies can raise a range of different ethical concerns. Qualitative researchers face difficulties, such as respect for privacy, honest and open interactions, and avoiding misrepresentations. Anonymity, confidentiality and informed consent are some important ethical actions that should be taken when conducting a qualitative research. Confidentiality and anonymity simply mean that the setting and participants should not be identifiable in all reporting. For example, to maintain confidentiality, researchers can give participants numbers or letters when transcribing the data instead of using their names or location. Informed consent has been viewed as an integral part of ethics in research and so for qualitative researchers, it is of the most importance to specify in advance which data will be collected and how they are to be used.

Loic Wacquant is known as a French boxer who delivers an ethnographic study of Chicago’s ghetto by describing the sport of boxing and analyzing it as a life in the streets. In Loic Wacquants research he shows how the social lives of underclass black men, and the ‘sociology of the body’ focuses on the ways in which skill, agility, and determination connect with the sport of boxing. His research focuses on the social theory habitus by Pierre Bourdieu to distinguish how the logic of practice is embedded in actual human bodies. Wacquant’s research is about how physical embodiment of cultural capital, to the deeply ingrained habits, skills, and dispositions are created based on our life experience.

In Wacquant research, he showed to have maintained an ethical and neutral stance as a sociologist and boxer. He carried out respect to all, while at the same time conducting research. He also maintained his ethical and neutral stance by acknowledging the fact that people growing up in the ghetto are living in poor conditions. To enhance his neutrality in his research, he became a boxer within a ghetto society so that he is able to understand the struggle, while at the same time keeping notes of his experiences. Wacquant could have gone with a quantitative approach, but the outcome wouldn’t be the same as the qualitative ethnographic approach he took. A qualitative research approach would have consisted of collecting statically data with abrasive collection methods and involve certain actions that can alter the outcome of the study. Wacquant experience as a boxer and an ethnographer was very effective as disorder was minimized. Wacquant research would not have been successful with a quantitative research study because it doesn’t provide a clear understanding on the uniqueness of social worlds and it doesn’t use the insiders view to analyze concepts. In a quantitative research study, humans are looked at as numbers and because humans do not express their perceptions and emotions with numbers, the true findings are then altered or unreal.

Ethnographic research is a qualitative method where researchers observe or interact with participants within a study while they are in their real-life environment. The goal of this type of research is to gain understanding on how an individual interacts with things in their natural environment. Qualitative research and ethnographic research can inform our understanding of unique social worlds by providing us access to the actual social contexts and the life worlds of those being studied. Ethnography as a research method can help with gaining a deeper understanding of human behavior, their motivations, and social interaction within a cultural context. The research helps our understanding by providing detailed descriptions and analysis, which paints a picture of the way culture sharing groups interpret their experiences and interactions. A policymaker is not aware of what policy needs to be made, in order to make a better decision on what is right, they need evidence. And therefore, research is so important as they can help policies be more creative and have a better response to on the ground realities. Public policy is influenced by many different citizens and social groups by supporting candidates and political parties. This may not be the best way, but it is a good way to make a positive impact. Because politicians and political parties come and go and their views on issues can change at any time, the best way to make an impact on public policy last is to change public opinion. If an individual can change the beliefs of people, then change in politicians and political parties will follow.

Qualitative research has a tradition in the study of human social behavior and cultures. Qualitative approaches have potential in psychiatry research, and in combination with quantitative methods. Its aim is to develop concepts which help us as individuals understand social phenomena, gain an understanding of the experiences, perceptions and behaviors of individuals, and the meanings attached to them.

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The Value Of Qualitative Research. (2022, February 27). Edubirdie. Retrieved June 9, 2023, from
“The Value Of Qualitative Research.” Edubirdie, 27 Feb. 2022,
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