According to Rolfe, “judging quality in qualitative research is symptomatic of an inability to identify a coherent ‘qualitative’ research paradigm and that, in effect, such a unified paradigm does not exist outside of research textbooks”. This makes it more challenging for the researcher or scholar learner to adopt this methodology as a standard for investigation since the paradigm that Rolfe refers to has to expand through thorough reading or via the experiences of more educated researchers.
Another characteristic of qualitative research is its promotion of a more diverse reaction from those who have been asked or surveyed. This is because the human behavior is taken more into consideration than metrics or numbers--therefore making the results more difficult to analyze, due to the variety of rules for interpretation of the responses. It is challenging but at the same time it can be fun.
Yet another characteristic of qualitative research relates to time and cost. This type of research can be pricey and time-consuming because of the time that the analysis of the responses may tak--and you've heard it before, “Time means money”. There are many voice questions about the value of qualitative research, especially in recent years. Most of the criticism comes from those who believe that the evidence is strictly circumstantial and lacks of hard metrics to be proven.
In conclusion, although the discussion here has been around the characteristics of qualitative research, it is important to emphasize that both qualitative and quantitative research methods form two different schools of research. On the surface it seems that qualitative research concerns the quality of research while quantitative research deals with simply numerical research. Qualitative researchers seek to appraise things as they are seen by humans, while making an effort to look at a realistic representation of life and providing an interpretative understanding of such mental drawing. Face it, qualitative research is not a hard science that will continue to draw criticism from quantitative researchers. Neither of these schools of thought is superior to the other, and when carried out correctly both provide what is needed for good research.
Hammersley, M. (2007). The issue of quality in qualitative research. International Journal of Research & Method in Education, 30(3), 287-305. doi:10.1080/17437270701614782, at http://www.marjee.org/pdfs/Hammersley_issue.pdf
Rolfe, G. (2006). Validity, trustworthiness and rigour: quality and the idea of qualitative research. Journal of Advanced Nursing, 53(3), 304-310. doi:10.1111/j.1365-2648.2006.03727.x, http://www.journalofadvancednursing.com/docs/1365-2648.2006.03727.x.pdf
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